Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Heart for Missions

Jesus said, "Then the King will say to those on the right, 'Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. I was naked and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.' Then these righteous will reply,'Lord when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?' And the King will tell them, 'I assure you when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!'" Matthew 25:34-40.

As we enter the season of Lent, are we striving towards the goal of seeking the resurrected Christ and to become more like Him? I am so impressed with my Sunday school class. Our facilitator has challenged us to see where we are in providing service to the church and to Christ. Our class has responded with a resounding "yes" we want to be the hands and feet of Jesus here in our community all year long not just at Christmas time. We have started a food collection for a local food pantry. Also, we are taking up an offering each week to donate to the church. The church will use the funds to help a local family in need, which could be a family in the midst of our congregation. Additionally, two of our members have faithfully been helping with "Deliver Me" senior services which delivers groceries to needy elderly in the city who are not able to get out and go to the store on their own. It is an income based need program. The rest of our class is getting involved to help deliver either monthly or quarterly.

While the above are only small sacrifices of funds or time, it will impact our community positively. No gift of service is too small. May we all seek the resurrected Christ and His call for us to be His hands and feet in our communities. Oh, how I long to one day hear Him say, "Well done good and faithful servant."

Jesus, what sacrifices are you asking from me during this season of Lent? What do I need to give up? What do I need to embrace. Where do you want me to serve so that the reserrected Christ reaches the lost, hurting, hungry, thirsty, ill and lonely?

Heather Deaton

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Unfailing Committed Love

"Surely your goodness and unfailing love will pursue me all the days of my life." Psalms 23:6.

The Book of Ruth tells the story of Naomi's redemption. When Naomi returned to Bethlehem, the women called out, is it really Naomi? Naomi responded do not call me Naomi, but Mara, which means bitter. She felt God had made life very bitter for her. Naomi said she returned to Bethlehem "empty". She was a widow and her two sons were dead also. Naomi felt abandoned by God. Ruth 1:5, 19-21.

However, Naomi was not abandoned by God. While she had endured much, God had great plans for her, Ruth and Boaz. By returning to Bethlehem with Naomi, Ruth demonstrated unconditional love to Naomi. Every day, Ruth further demonstrated her love for Naomi by gathering the leftover grain in the fields to provide food for Naomi and herself.

For her kindness and love, Ruth gained security, a loving husband, and a child, Obed. Ruth's kindness and Obed's birth demonstrated to Naomi that God can bring good from even the worst circumstances. God took Naomi's emptiness and the bad circumstances she found herself in and gave her fullness and great joy. Naomi gained the joy and happiness that she thought had eluded her.

God loves us just like He loved Naomi. God gave us the greatest gift of love, Jesus Christ. Jesus gave us salvation and the opportunity for relationship with the triune God and is the ultimate gift of God's unfailing, unconditional love to mankind. At times in life, though we may feel abandoned, God has not abandoned us. He does not forget us. God loves us and wants the best for us.

May we not lose hope during life's struggles but seek Him, His truth and find the good He has in store for us. "For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord. They are plans for good and not for disaster to give you a future and a hope. In those days when you pray, I will listen. If you will look for me in earnest, you will find me when you seek me. I will be found by you." Jeremiah 29:11-13.

Let God's unfailing love hold you and show you the good He has planned for you. His plans for us are far better then what we can imagine or dream for ourselves.

The Book of Ruth is a great book and only four chapters. It is a short read, but a great story of unconditional love in action.

Heather S. Deaton