Friday, November 23, 2012

Are you a neighbour?

I shared a story on my Facebook status the other day.  I'll repeat it here.

I was in a store.  Getting a Christmas gift.  Waiting my turn. No rush.  I noticed a young couple behind me with two small children, really a toddler and a babe in arms.  I told the store manager who was serving me he could take care of them first.  They said thank you.  A number of times. But it was the store manager that was most interesting.  He said that one gesture of kindness restored his faith in humanity.  In human kindness for no reward.  Really?  Really.

It got me thinking...and then the next morning my son's devotional covered the story of Jesus teaching about being a neighbour.  Who is our neighbour and why.  You know this story, right?  Find it here if you are drawing a blank.

Today was Black Friday, the US version of Boxing Day in Canada. Or perhaps we are trying to catch up and with some stores having their own version we, too, have a Black Friday.  Just without the stampedes but I digress.

My point, and question is this: how have you been a neighbour lately? 

Note I didn't ask if you were being a good neighbour but a neighbour. Showing the fruits of the spirit to those around you.  You remember those, right?

Galatians 5:22-23
But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. 

So, using Galatians as our check list we can ask ourselves the questions...

  • Have I shown my neighbour love, joy, peace, kindness?
  • Have I exercised forebearance, goodness, faithfullness?
  • Have I lived a spirit of gentleness and self-control?
I know it seems unfair to ask it but if we cannot show it then how can we expect people to see it?

If my one small act of kindness to a stranger showed them a bit of God's love and encouraged them to be kind, to show love, to work on patience then I have been a neighbour.

I don't need to be a nosy neighbour checking in to see if my actions are bearing fruit in your life.  That is between you and God.

I don't need to stay in my own neighbourhood which can be where I live, shop, go to church.  I can be a neighbour to anyone.  To the least of these.  When we are in the middle of being the least of them.

This Christmas season, let us begin by remembering to be good neighbours.

Share your ideas on being a good neighbour in comments, would love to have you bless us with your sharing!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Resting in Battle

Exodus 14:14

14 The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still.”

In a duel between swordsmen there are rules.  In battle there are supposed to be rules of engagement.  

The devil does not recognize or respect these things.  There is no 'sword down to rest' signal when you are in battle with him.  And as Christians we believe the lie of the world that says, "In the middle of battle don't rest. Don't stop."

It is a lie.  A huge lie.  Why?  Because God will battle for us.  Indeed He commands us to be still and He will fight for us.  Many times in the Bible the battle is won for us by God.  Not by us for God.

Think of it this way - when we are in a struggle, in a battle, when we are under attack, it seems like the worst time to catch our breath.  We think there is no one to step between us and our attacker the devil.  We are wrong.  God promises to battle for us.  

I was speaking to a dear friend today who is in the middle of some serious spiritual attacks.  She is literally, and figuratively, in a downpour.  She knows she needs to rest. To catch her breath. To pray. 

She is not quitting.  She is not giving up.  She is letting God fight for her while she stands still.  While she rests.

This blog, and my others, has been silent for a while.  I've been catching my breath.  I've been resting.  I've been battling and God has been battling for me.

For the first time in months, literally months, I feel I can write again. I can share with you all.  It feels good to be back.

Be still.  Mouths. Feet. Hands. Minds. Spirits.  Be still.
Pray.  Let God fight for you.  Fight in your place.
Let God fight and let Him renew your body, spirit and mind.

When someone is embattled, encourage them. Pray for them. Be there for them. Let them rest.  Don't let them quit, but don't deny them rest either.  The more we feel the need to fight, the more we need to obey God and rest.

Proverbs 21:31
The horse is made ready for the day of battle, but victory rests with the LORD.

We can be prepared. We can be girded.  But the victory belongs to God.  He wins it for us.  Victory rests with the Lord.  Always.  Always.

Are you in a battle today?  Is tonight the night when you feel you can't go on?  Then brother rest. Sister rest.  God will not abandon you.  He will fight for you.