Tag Archives: Opportunity

Christmas Kindness

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Romans 12:7-9
If you have a gift for showing kindness to others, do it gladly (Romans 12:8).

Proverbs 11:17 to be true?

How has God shown kindness to you? What happens when we live out this character quality before others?

My son spent his first decade of life in a warm East Africa climate. For his 10th birthday, I used frequent flier miles and took him to the western part of the US to experience snow.

Friends graciously opened their home to us while they were away for the Christmas holidays. When my son and I arrived, we had just a garage door opener code to get in but a fluke power outage prevented the door from opening. It was 9:30 p.m. on Christmas Eve . . . and we were stranded. Sheepishly, I knocked on the neighbors’ door and explained our situation. To my surprise, the family invited us to spend the night with them.

Like Job, the family opened their doors to complete strangers (Job 31:31-32), blessing us big-time! When we walked in, they immediately whisked us to their backyard to roast marshmallows over a crackling fire. Yum! Later, my son and I stayed in their lovely guestroom, and we woke up on Christmas morning to a huge breakfast and stockings filled with gifts from our thoughtful hosts (see Romans 12:7-9).

I love the Wikipedia definition of kindness: “Good and charitable behavior . . . concern for others. It is known as a virtue . . . Research has shown that acts of kindness not only benefit the receivers of the kind act, but also the giver.” Kindness is also included in the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22). When we extend kindness to others, we glorify the Lord who “is righteous in everything he does; he is filled with kindness” (Psalm 145:17).

This Christmas, like my new friends in Utah, choose to display the wisdom of Proverbs 3:3 and “never let loyalty and kindness leave you! Tie them around your neck as a reminder. Write them deep within your heart.”

no other gods

Exodus 20:1-6
You must not have any other god but me (Exodus 20:3).

Read Isaiah 44:6-24 for God’s view of other gods and why it’s foolish to have them.

What person, hobby, or thing has been elevated to godlike status in your life? What will you do about it today?

Jason is dead serious about his studies. He’s striving to gain an overseas scholarship that will allow him to pursue a doctorate degree in mathematics. So he makes sure that he does well in all his required classes. He’s also gone beyond the basics to take higher-level classes. He eats, drinks, and sleeps math!

Has education become his god? It’s hard to tell. Any responsible student should put in the due diligence. Yet, on the other hand, it’s easy for career, family, hobbies, and other everyday concerns to be elevated to godlike status. We can begin to give them our total devotion.

God said to His people: “You must not have any other god but me” (Exodus 20:3). For to have another god before the only God is to provoke Him to holy jealousy. John Calvin explained, “This is like a shameless woman who brings in an adulterer before her husband’s very eyes only to vex his mind the more.”

But can we obey this commandment? The answer is both “no” and “yes.” No, because the Law reveals our sinful inclination toward other gods. Yes, because of what Christ has accomplished on the cross for us. Now, with the Holy Spirit’s help, we can keep this command—as Philip Ryken puts it, “not as a way of getting right with God, but as a way of pleasing the God who has made us right with Him.”

May our heart’s prayer reflect these words from hymn writer Robert Robinson: “O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be! Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee. Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, prone to leave the God I love; here’s my heart, O take and seal it, seal it for Thy courts above.”

From: Our Daily Journey

Decide With Hope

 

 

Don’t Hope,… Decide!

While waiting to pick up a friend at the airport in Portland, Oregon, I had one of those life-changing experiences that you hear other people talk about — the kind that sneaks up on you unexpectedly. This one occurred a mere two feet away from me.

Straining to locate my friend among the passengers deplaning through the jet way, I noticed a man coming toward me carrying two light bags. He stopped right next to me to greet his family.

First he motioned to his youngest son (maybe six years old) as he laid down his bags. They gave each other a long, loving hug. As they separated enough to look in each other’s face, I heard the father say, “It’s so good to see you, son. I missed you so much!” His son smiled somewhat shyly, averted his eyes and replied softly, “Me, too, Dad!”

Then the man stood up, gazed in the eyes of his oldest son (maybe nine or ten) and while cupping his son’s face in his hands said, “You’re already quite the young man. I love you very much, Zach!” They too hugged a most loving, tender hug.

While this was happening, a baby girl (perhaps one or one-and-a-half) was squirming excitedly in her mother’s arms, never once taking her little eyes off the wonderful sight of her returning father. The man said, “Hi, baby girl!” as he gently took the child from her mother. He quickly kissed her face all over and then held her close to his chest while rocking her from side to side. The little girl instantly relaxed and simply laid her head on his shoulder, motionless in pure contentment.

After several moments, he handed his daughter to his oldest son and declared, “I’ve saved the best for last!” and proceeded to give his wife the longest, most passionate kiss I ever remember seeing. He gazed into her eyes for several seconds and then silently mouthed. “I love you so much!” They stared at each other’s eyes, beaming big smiles at one another, while holding both hands.

For an instant they reminded me of newlyweds, but I knew by the age of their kids that they couldn’t possibly be. I puzzled about it for a moment then realized how totally engrossed I was in the wonderful display of unconditional love not more than an arm’s length away from me. I suddenly felt uncomfortable, as if I was invading something sacred, but was amazed to hear my own voice nervously ask, “Wow! How long have you two been married?

“Been together fourteen years total, married twelve of those.” he replied, without breaking his gaze from his lovely wife’s face. “Well then, how long have you been away?” I asked. The man finally turned and looked at me, still beaming his joyous smile. “Two whole days!”

Two days? I was stunned. By the intensity of the greeting, I had assumed he’d been gone for at least several weeks – if not months. I know my expression betrayed me.

I said almost offhandedly, hoping to end my intrusion with some semblance of grace (and to get back to searching for my friend), “I hope my marriage is still that passionate after twelve years!”

The man suddenly stopped smiling.

He looked me straight in the eye, and with forcefulness that burned right into my soul, he told me something that left me a different person. He told me, “Don’t hope, friend… decide!” Then he flashed me his wonderful smile again, shook my hand and said, “God bless!”

– By Michael D. Hargrove , Moral Stories, AcademicTips.org.

Virtual Cup of Tea

Romans 12:10 says, “Be kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly love, in honor giving preference to one another.”

 

 

 

As I started writing this last night I was reflecting back over the events of the day. My day started out with the slamming of a door, sent through my trusted friend, my email. While scanning through the emails that had accumulated overnight I noticed a generic electronic message of rejection from the HR department of a business in which I had just had a second interview a couple of days ago. As I left the “peer interview” spent with five staff members, who had each grilled me with their routine stock questions, I was told that I was definitely in the “top three” being considered for this position. Of course, I have heard this numerous times over the past seven months of my employment search. That statement along with the supposed encouraging words that I should be “so proud that you have even been called in for an interview since we had well over one hundred applicants for this job…” hasn’t done one thing to further my career or my bank account.

 

 

Obviously I was a bit angry to receive this email first thing in the morning, not to mention just downright discouraged and frustrated. However, that resounding closed door spurred me to start searching for that open window that I know God has waiting for me right around the corner. Somehow in my distress I stumbled upon this “blogspot” and decided to give it a try. Now, I don’t know exactly where this will lead, if anywhere, but for now it appears to be an open window. Through this window I can see great potential for growth, encouragement, and possible ministry…not just for myself, but hopefully for any readers who may stumble upon this and feel led to voice their opinions, words of wisdom, or thoughtful insights, which leads me to the following:

 

The second door I heard slam was in a message I received on my Facebook post. One of my facebook friends, whom I have never met in person but with whom I have enjoyed a rather interesting and delightful dialogue of diversity in opinion and thought, made the statement that she was going to have a cup of hot tea. I chimed back that I love hot tea, and would she mind if I joined her? Perhaps the suddenness of my intrusion into her privacy stunned her, and she immediately responded that only if I stayed in my own house! I guess I was a little taken back by her response and so I thanked her for her “warm hospitality”, but she had no fear of me flying through the computer to her door. My friend further explained that she is agoraphobic, and the mere thought of someone inviting themselves to tea at her home threw her into a panic, even though she knew there was no real way that I would actually be coming to her home. I apologized and reassured her of my sincere desire to continue our communication via facebook, and that perhaps we could share a cup of tea while visiting online. Another friend chimed in with the idea of a “virtual cuppa tea”. And so another window in my mind popped open…using this blog as a “virtual cup of tea”; a way to visit and share ideas, dreams, perplexities, concerns, prayer needs and answers with my friends…perhaps a way to unlock some doors for those who feel trapped or lonely or afraid because of the pain and hurt they have already suffered outside that door.

I don’t pretend to have any answers in my own strength, but I know Who holds the keys to unlock all the doors of our hearts and minds. I also know that there is comfort and strength in the presence of One Who desires to come in and visit with us and even dwell within. That is my prayer for today…that whatever is said or done here will be used for God’s glory and our edification. Especially that we will be “kindly affectionate to one another with brotherly (sisterly?) love, in honor giving preference to one another…” that’s what this blog is all about.

 

So, pour yourself another cup of tea, coffee, latte, or a smoothie, and sit down and chat with me for a while. Maybe we’ll share more than just a “cup of virtual tea”…maybe we’ll even open some new windows together as we move beyond those closed doors.

 

 

Some food for thought: What are some of the “closed doors” you have experienced in your life, and how have you seen those closed doors help move you toward an “open window”? Let’s share some ideas and experiences that may help others in their journey.

Author: Pamela M. Steiner http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com

 

A New Window of Opportunity

“Ben’s Country Woodshop” was the result of a closed door and what a young man did to explore the possibilities of open windows that were available.  After months of rejection in his job search for a “real job”, this determined person would not allow the “no” responses to overcome his spirit of adventure and drive…and he created his own opportunities for self-employment.  God provided the tools, the talent, the support of friends and family, the space to work, and he supplied his own ingenuity and dreams to create products that would not only be useful and practical, but also interesting and unique.  Although this did not lead to wealth and prosperity, it did provide a sense of accomplishment and a way to obtain the necessary experience to build self-confidence and hone his skills so they would become more marketable.

 

Day by day this wanna-be entrepreneur worked and studied and experimented with new designs and techniques…and kept busy with new projects instead of giving up hope and becoming a “couch potato”.  But after months of no real income he was becoming a bit discouraged and began to wonder if he should just give up on the woodworking and try something else.  Then something wonderful happened…an acquaintance told him about a local furniture manufacturing company that just might be hiring.  As a matter of fact, this acquaintance actually knew the general manager of the company and put in a good word for our self-taught woodworker.  And lo! and behold!  About two weeks later this manager called up and invited our young man to come in for an interview, which resulted in his being hired for a full time position which started immediately!  The question the man asked him was, “Do you know how to operate saws and woodworking equipment?”  Well, guess what?  About a year and a half ago he would not have been able to answer that question with the same confidence and truth with which he was able to respond at this particular time.  You see, God knew way back when that this was exactly the kind of training and experience he would need to get this job today.  God provided the tools, the determination to learn and experiment, and the encouragement from friends and family that drove him forward.  Then, when the time was right, God provided the Open Window of opportunity for which he had been completely prepared.  God’s timing is always perfect…and His plans are always exact and complete.  We just have to learn to trust and obey the nudges He gives us to move forward in the right direction.

 

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, says the Lord, thoughts of peace and not of evil, to give you a future and a hope.”  Jeremiah 29:11

 

Thank you, Lord, for giving our son the proper guidance at the right time…and for helping him to believe that what appeared to be a “closed door” was actually a path to the “open window” that You were preparing for him ahead of time.  May we all be encouraged by this story today. In Jesus’ Name I pray, Amen.

 

You can see more of Ben’s Country Woodshop on the link provided above to the page on this blog. http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com/p/closed-doors-open-windowsand-motivation.html Also, go to http://www.start-with-free-woodworking-plans.com/  for more ideas and products that have come as a result of this “open window”.   We give God all the glory!!

 

 

Author: Pamela M. Steiner http://pamelasopenwindow.blogspot.com