Have you ever thought about the food you eat? Lately, it has been one of the things that is always in the back of my mind. How does this food make me feel? Do I feel nauseous? Do I feel satisfied? Do I feel lethargic or energetic? Asking myself these questions has helped me to better understand what works for me and what does not.
This got me thinking about how many times food was mentioned in the Bible. From the fruit that Adam and Eve ate from the tree in Genesis, to Jesus having the last supper with the twelve disciples. Food is an intricate part of our lives. Meal times are meant for us to communicate with each other as well as provide sustenance. I think this gets lost sometimes in busyness. Drive Thru's do not really facilitate this type of communication.
Eating a meal together may not seem all that important, but I must say the times when I have been device free enjoying a meal with others, it brings a real sense of closeness with those joining me.
I have been reminded today how important it is to maintain relationships especially since many of us cannot see each other on a regular basis. A phone call, text message, email or online call could be just the thing to keep these relationships going.
The people you reach out to during this time may just be the most important people in your life. When we invest in people we are building into the relationship.
Is there someone you have lost connection with that used to be an important person for you, if so today may be the day to reconnect.
Betrayal sucks! If you have not been betrayed either you are very blessed or you have not allowed anyone close enough to you to betray you. The rest of us, however, feel its affects: broken trust, feelings of abandonment, cracked relationships, fractured self worth, anger, hatred, and bitterness to name a few. The closer people are to us the deeper the damage goes.
Paul experienced this. He faced a judge to plead his case when he was in prison. Everyone abandoned him, they betrayed him. Can you imagine? You are incarcerated and those who are your witnesses don't show up. How devastating would that would be? You would think he would be livid. You would think he would be telling Timothy to avoid these people and if he came across them deal with them accordingly. Instead, he does something that challenged me. He not only forgave them, he asked Timothy to not hold it against them. 2 Timothy 4:16 The first time I was brought before the judge, no one came with me. Everyone abandoned me. May it not be counted against them.
I have been betrayed before and I can honestly say that I have not been as gracious as Paul is in this instance. He challenges me. He saw the bigger picture, that God used this situation for good. 2 Timothy 4:17
But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear. And he rescued me from certain death. Paul saw God at work through this circumstance. The next time I am betrayed, I hope I can see the bigger picture and be quick to forgive.
I was doing my devotions today and was struck by how much this world is in need of God's love. I was reading 2 Timothy 3 and verses 1 to 5 could be a snapshot of our society as a whole.
2 Timothy 3:1-5 You should know this, Timothy, that in the last days there will be very difficult times. For people will love only themselves and their money. They will be boastful and proud, scoffing at God, disobedient to their parents, and ungrateful. They will consider nothing sacred. They will be unloving and unforgiving; they will slander others and have no self-control. They will be cruel and hate what is good. They will betray their friends, be reckless, be puffed up with pride, and love pleasure rather than God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly. Stay away from people like that!
I know this was a message to Timothy from Paul, however, I believe this is in the Bible as a caution to us as well. I believe we are in the end times and this is what our current society in general looks like. What can we do to make an impact? The thing that keeps echoing through my mind and heart is God's love. 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 is a beautiful picture of God's love and it shows that it can break through pride, dismantle selfishness, and restore peace.
1 Corinthians 13:4-7 Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged. It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out. Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.
It is also a challenge to us. If we love people the way God does. If we began to love others the way God loves us, we would not only see our homes changed, but also our communities, and ultimately our world.
Gentle words are powerful. Proverbs 15:1 - A gentle answer deflects anger, but harsh words make tempers flare. Have you ever witnessed this? I have. When my husband and I have gotten into arguments, it usually doesn't calm down until one of returns with gentle words, which is usually the result of spending some quality time with God. Let's face it, if left to my own devices, I must admit, I am not always gentle with my words.
Last night, I was teasing Walter and I really hurt his feelings. Once I realized that I had really hurt him, I spoke gently to him and sincerely apologized. This could have escalated into an argument instead it was ended in peace, love and understanding. It is amazing how gentle words can calm the heart and sooth the soul.
When we speak to others what words do we use? This is important! We could be building relationships or tearing them down with our words. Be very careful with your words, people who love you and value what you say will carry those words around with them. I challenge you, the next time you are angry, take some time and ensure that you return with gentle words, it just might make all the difference.
Join me on my journey through life's joys and difficulties.