Category Archives: Serving Others

A God Connection: Being Available for Kingdom Work

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A couple weeks ago, I walked through security at the Tallahassee airport and headed toward my gate. I saw him instantly—an older man in a wheelchair tuning a mandolin. Not something you see every day.

I sat down near him to enjoy the melody emanating from that beautiful instrument, but he quickly began to put it away. Before I could think of a reason not to, I leaned over and blurted out something like, “Excuse me. I’m a writer, and I would love to have a picture of you holding your instrument. Would that be okay?”

Mr. Gordon with Maggie Maggie

He beamed. “Of course! Do whatever you’d like.”

We introduced ourselves, and he said his name was Mr. Gordon. He sat proudly holding his mandolin while I snapped a few photos. Then he told me all about the love of his life: Maggie Maggie (pronounced Maggie McGee). Of course, he was referring to the century-old wooden mandolin he held with pure reverence. Mr. Gordon had been the proud owner of Maggie Maggie for the past fifty years.

Our talk soon turned to the reasons for our trips. I was on my way to New York for the first time to attend the BookExpo of America. I didn’t know what to expect, but I was trusting God was going to do awesome things.

Mr. Gordon was fleeing a disaster. He had lived in Hawaii for much of his life, and now his home was being threatened by recent volcanic activity. When lava had come within two miles of his house, he was evacuated. Fortunately, he had family in Georgia, which is where he had spent the past couple weeks. Now he was headed to Tennessee to visit with some old musician friends. He wasn’t sure if he’d have a house to go back to, but he was glad for the opportunity to reconnect with those who mattered most.

Available for Service

It may have been the mandolin that caught my attention that day, but it was Mr. Gordon’s sweet spirit that drew me to him. You might call it a God connection. At the end of our conversation, I asked to pray with Mr. Gordon (something I don’t do very often), and he readily agreed. I was only slightly embarrassed as I wiped away a couple tears during our prayer. After all, it is a holy thing to speak true words of comfort over a brother in Christ.

“Then we who are alive and remain will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air, and so we shall always be with the Lord. Therefore comfort one another with these words” (1 Thessalonians 4:16 NAS).

I love this sign on Maggie Maggie’s case!

That encounter with Mr. Gordon set the tone for my trip to New York. I was reminded that God’s plans are greater than mine, and He is always looking for opportunities to draw others to Himself…even in the middle of an airport. I agreed right then to make myself available to Him—even in busy New York—so I could be useful for His service.

“Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work” (2 Timothy 2:20 NAS).

The trip to New York was awesome! We had a wonderful time, and the fruit of those meetings is still being realized. But it’s the Mr. Gordons that I met along the way who mattered the most.

Encouragement for the Week

This week, I encourage you to make yourself available and useful to the Lord. Start by saying a simple prayer like this: “Lord, life is so busy that it can be hard to recognize those you put in my path. Please forgive me for all the opportunities I’ve missed to do your will. Soften my heart and quicken my spirit so that I can be receptive to your desires. Make me a willing participant in your kingdom work. In the name of the True Servant, Jesus. Amen.”

Have you had any “God connections” lately? Did they encourage your spirit?

 

[Click to Tweet: Lord, help me to not be so busy that I fail to be useful for your Kingdom. #faithlife]

 

Charities for Life

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Christmas is almost upon us, which means you’re probably wrapping your presents and doing some last-minute shopping. Now, take a breath. Stop for just a moment and think if there are any people around you who are in need. No matter where you live, you probably drove past at least one homeless person today, and there must be dozens of charities in your area that could use a donation or a helping hand.

If you’ve already blessed your own community and want to make a difference across the world, check out two of my favorite charities that help children in need:

Compassion International

Compassion has many programs to ensure children in need have nutritious food, education, healthcare, job preparation courses, and more. They also share the Gospel with these kids, giving them a real hope for their future.

Robby and I have two sponsor kids through Compassion, a little boy in the Philippines and a girl in Africa. We love to read their letters and to hear how our monthly donations are used. This is a great way to bless children in need throughout the year.

This month, you can also shop Compassion’s Gift Catalog, where you can select an item to give to a family in need—items like Bibles, chickens, goats, pigs, garden seeds, textbooks, bicycles, and more. If you’d like, you can make the one-time donation in honor of a loved one and a card will be sent to them explaining what you donated in their honor. This is a perfect way to honor a loved one and bless a family in need.

Sweet Sleep

Most people are aware that children in poverty need food, shelter, education, and healthcare. What most of us don’t think of is beds. Many children in poverty sleep on bare floors where they’re susceptible to parasites and bacteria. Others are without mosquito nets, leaving them prone to malaria.

Sweet Sleep works with communities throughout the world to provide beds, sheets, and mosquito nets to children in need. This not only gives them comfort, it gives them an opportunity for a future. Sweet Sleep also provides each child with a Bible in their own language, supplying them with faith and a new hope for the future.

This Christmas, pray that the Lord will give you guidance on how to bless those in need, whether they’re in your city or a world away. And may God bless you and your family this Christmas and throughout the New Year.

 “The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (See Matthew 25:40 NAS.)

When It’s Not About You

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Sometimes, we find ourselves in situations that are…well…they’re just not about us. Perhaps God has His eyes on someone in far greater need; or maybe your role is just to bring others together, to plant a seed, or to make a way for someone else.

This month, I found myself in a very frustrating “it’s not about me” situation. Here’s an excerpt from the blog I wrote, which is now posted at Lift Up Your Day. I hope it encourages you!

Excerpt:

I felt so convicted! While my heart had been turned inward, God’s heart was focused on Lynn and what she needs. I know God loves me as much as He loves Lynn and, yes, this will work out for the good for all of us. (See Romans 8:28.) But this issue is about Lynn and making sure she’s safe in her own home.

In other words, this isn’t about me….

We all love it when God moves in our lives, when we’re the focus of His blessings. But as we grow in the faith, we learn that “it is more blessed to give than to receive” (Acts 20:35 NAS). We should want God to trust us to be His messengers, comforters, teachers, and servants. It should be our heart’s desire to be God’s hands and feet in this world.


To read the full blog, click here.