GIVING TO OTHERS: GIVING TO CHRIST

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40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of Mine, you did for Me.’ ”(Matthew 25:40)

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The window view was alive with people, coming and going, carrying bundles, flowers, gifts. She always placed her wheelchair close to the pane, so she could see the life passing by outside. The elderly woman kept a careful watch for someone she might know, someone who might be coming to visit her.

The people passing by outside the glass weren’t really strangers though, since she saw some of them regularly on their visits to friends or family. She almost knew them. Yet, they did not know her. Not one of them ever looked at her window. No one waved at her as she watched them. No one noticed as she sat there day after day, waiting. . .

The little red-haired boy was not supposed to toss the ball near the building. But being a boy, holding a ball, how could he not. The ball rolled under the window ledge where the old woman was watching. The boy ran after it, his mom calling for him to hurry. Searching under the bushes, he found the ball and was preparing to toss it again–when he looked up and saw the old woman staring at him through the window pane. She watched him intently, waiting for what she had wanted all along—acknowledgement that she was part of the life she saw passing daily by her window.

And it came from a little freckle-faced, red-haired boy with a ball. He met her gaze and smiled–not a little boyish grin, but a big, broad smile—focused directly at her. She caught the smile in her eyes, holding it there, smiling back, as he ran toward his mother who reached for his open hand- which was not immediately given. Instead, turning back to the woman in the window, who was still watching him, he waved. And she lifted a waiting hand to wave back.

Others in the walkway had observed the little boy chasing after the ball. Following the scene being played out, they now saw the old woman in the window. They could not pass by again without remembering that she was there, watching and waiting. Would they smile? Would they wave? Or would they continue to pass on by as they had always done before?

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34 “Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, 36 I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

37 “Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? 39 When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ ”

40 “The King will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me.’ ”(Matthew 25:34-40)

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Hear the silence that speaks behind windows or open doors. See the waiting and watching of those in need.  Respond with action, for whatever we do for one of these, we do for Christ.

(Sharon G. Tate 11/27/16 blog) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

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“Thanks” giving to God

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Enter His gates with thanksgiving, and His courts with praise.

Give thanks to Him; bless His name. (Psalm 100:4)

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But not today, some might say.  “After all, tomorrow is another day!” 1 This famous line, uttered by Scarlett O’Hara in Gone with the Wind, is one that is, often, used or paraphrased when we wish to procrastinate or just believe in tomorrow to the extent that there will always be another day, waiting– for us to complete what we haven’t completed, to do what we should have already done, and/or to say what we should have already said.

Expressing gratitude might be placed in the category of a “tomorrow” delay to friends, family, colleagues, or peers. We may believe this is all right, because we intend to do this, just not today. But showing appreciation should not be on hold for “another day.” Today is the day to say, “Thank you.” How different the world might be if today was always the day for gratitude.

Our thankfulness to God should be communicated to Him daily, hourly, every minute, every second and never be withheld for another time. We can show THANKSGIVING and PRAISE to God every day by:

T: Trusting in His faithfulness to us.

H: Honoring Him by the way we live.

A: Asking for His forgiveness when we fall short, wanting to be faithful in His eyes.

N: Needing Him in all aspects of our life and demonstrating this to Him.

K: Knowing His Word through personal study, reflection, and obedience.

S: Singing praises to His Name in honor and gratitude.

G: Giving generously to others from our hearts as He gave sacrificially to us.

I: Inquiring deeper in personal prayer with Him to understand His ways and His Word.

V: Voicing His truth to others to help bring them to the salvation we have in Him.

I: Immersing ourselves in His Word to know how to live more like Christ.

N: Nonconforming to the world around us that we may obey and follow only Him.

G: Going through life with God in all we say, do, think, and decide.

The gratitude we should express to God is related to us in scripture: ” Therefore, since we receive a kingdom which cannot be shaken, let us show gratitude, by which we may offer to God an acceptable service with reverence and awe; for our God is a consuming fire.”(Hebrews 12:28-29)

Psalm 28:7 -The LORD is my strength and my shield; My heart trusts in Him, and I am helped; Therefore my heart exults, And with my song I shall thank Him.

Psalm 69:30 – I will praise the name of God with song, and shall magnify Him with thanksgiving.

Colossians 2:6-7 – Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, having been firmly rooted and now being built up in Him and established in your faith, just as you were instructed, and overflowing with gratitude.

Psalm 34:1 – I will bless the LORD at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth.

1 Thessalonians 5:18- In everything give thanks; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

Let us always remember to give thanks to God every today. Tomorrow is not promised.

This is the day the Lord has made;
We will rejoice and be glad in it. (Psalm 118:24)

                                                    And we will offer up our thanksgiving to Him.

1Mitchell, Margaret.  Gone with the Wind. http://www.goodreads.com/work/quotes

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/20/16)   teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word

OUR RESPONSIBILITY AS CHILDREN OF GOD: FACES OF POVERTY AND HUNGER WANTING MORE

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“For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, Now I will arise,” says the Lord; “I will set him in the safety for which he yearns.” (Psalm 12:5)

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** “Child as he was, he was desperate with hunger, and reckless with misery. He rose from the table; and advancing to the master, basin and spoon in hand, said, somewhat alarmed at his own temerity: ‘Please, sir, I want some more.’ ” 1 (Oliver Twist)

** “Miss Caroline began the day by reading us a story about cats. The cats had long conversations with one another; they wore cunning little clothes and lived in a warm house beneath a kitchen stove. By the time Mrs. Cat called the drugstore for an order of chocolate malted mice the class was wriggling like a bucketful of catawba worms. Miss Caroline seemed unaware that the ragged, denim-shirted and floursack-skirted first grade, most of whom had chopped cotton and fed hogs from the time they were able to walk, were immune to imaginative literature. Miss Caroline came to the end of the story and said, ‘Oh, my, wasn’t that nice?’ ” 2 (To Kill a Mockingbird)

** “The master was a fat, healthy man; but he turned very pale. He gazed in stupefied astonishment on the small rebel for some seconds, and then clung for support to the copper. The assistants were paralyzed with wonder; the boys with fear. ‘What!’ said the master at length, in a faint voice.   ‘Please, sir,’ replied Oliver, ‘I want some more.’ The master aimed a blow at Oliver’s head with the ladle; pinioned him in his arm; and shrieked aloud for the beadle.”¹ (Oliver Twist)

** “While Walter piled food on his plate, he and Atticus talked together like two men, to the wonderment of Jem and me. Atticus was expounding upon farm problems when Walter interrupted to ask if there was any molasses in the house. Atticus summoned Calpurnia, who returned bearing the syrup pitcher. She stood waiting for Walter to help himself. Walter poured syrup on his vegetables and meat with a generous hand. He would probably have poured it into his milk glass had I not asked what the sam hill he was doing. The silver saucer clattered when he replaced the pitcher, and he quickly put his hands in his lap. Then he ducked his head.” 3   (To Kill a Mockingbird)

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The face of poverty and hunger: Walter Cunningham, the young boy who heaps his plate with food and pours syrup, a sweet delicacy, over every portion, and then feels shame, dropping his head, when a young girl questions his unacceptable behavior. A boy in age, adult in knowledge, Walter speaks to the girl’s father with a man’s understanding of farm problems. The children in Miss Caroline’s class, including Walter, are unable to connect with the imaginative cat story read to them by their teacher. Their life is one of day-to-day survival, working like adults, steeped in reality.

The face of the orphan: The young lad Oliver Twist, who dares to ask for more. For this bold act, he is publicly punished and abused in front of his peers. The adults are astonished, awed, and outraged at such a request. Reality strikes back. There will be no more food. But there will be more punitive consequences for asking.

We read the stories and imagine the faces, we see the pictures of poverty, and we watch the suffering of children. Do we close the book and not remember? Do we watch the television requests for aid and turn the channel? Do we hear the news and think, “This is not my problem.”

Our God is “A father of the fatherless, a defender of widows,  Is God in His holy habitation.” (Psalm 68:5) 

“Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.” (James 1:27)

 This is our problem. They are our responsibility. The faces of children—poor, hungry, and abused—must be remembered. And we must give them MORE.

1 Oliver Twist/charlesdickenspage.com/twist 

2 To Kill a Mockingbird/Chapter 2 https://docs.google.co

³To Kill a Mockingbird/Chapter 3. https://docs.google.com

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/13/16) teacherforjesus.com Meditations on God’s Word

Two Mites: Submission. Sacrifice. Trust. Faith.

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41Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings were put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasury. Many rich people threw in large amounts. 42 But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a few cents.43 Calling his disciples to Him, Jesus said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others. 44 They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:41-44

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    Are you there in your mind, picturing this scene, watching it play out,

possibly like this?

A poor widow enters the crowd, remaining alone.  Her garments clean but faded, restitched and resewn.   Head bowed and back bent, moving slowly through the crowd.  Separate from those with heads proudly raised, arrayed in the finest apparel.  Leaning on a walking stick, looking to the ground, carefully watching her steps, she approaches the temple treasury.

Without display, she holds two coins in her calloused, wrinkled hands.  Not holding back, not gripping tightly with difficult release, but freely letting go of all she has to give. She places the coins in the temple treasury, a decision made before this moment, a commitment of faith. It is all she has, a few cents to offer. Head bowed, she moves slowly away, drifting through the crowds, leaving as she came, alone.

Someone else is watching. His eyes see all. The Teacher instructs His students: Out of poverty- the point we all enter His presence. The wealth we think we leave in the treasury-never ours. The faith to place everything we have in His hands-to freely give.  A remonstrance to those who proudly give of “their wealth”– while allowing a widow to depart alone to a life of hardship. Did they understand?

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 Where are we in this scene? Are we among the proud givers?  Are we hidden in the crowd, merely bystanders, giving nothing to the treasury or the widow?  Are we near the disciples, whom Jesus must call to Him? Or are we close to Jesus, watching what He sees and hearing what He hears?  Are we listening to His Words? Do we understand?

 Two mites, coins with very low value.

The poor widow of low social status.

Submission.   Sacrifice.   Trust.   Faith.

A simple story of profound significance.

Would we watch her walk away?

Could we give the two mites so freely-

 If this was all we had?

(Sharon G. Tate blog 11/06/16)  teacherforjesus.com  Meditations on God’s Word