God’s used each Reach Out post this month to stir my thinking, and there seems to be a common thread. In fact, this thread has woven it’s way into articles I’ve written (in quotes provided by other authors), other posts I’ve read, experiences God’s brought my way. The thread is always be alert and obedient to divine appointments. The foundation for this thread is love. People need love, and God longs to love them through us.
As I recap this month’s posts, I’ll share what God taught me through them. I invite you to do the same.
I loved Thrust in the Spotlight by Sherry Castelluccio because it reminded me to look past the surface to the human heart beneath whatever dirt, frowns, or outward behaviors we see. Until we see people as God sees them–dearly loved children of God.
“I was not exactly excited when we started God’s Helping Hands ministry at our church. The prospect of giving large quantities of food and clothing to low-income families made me uncomfortable. Most of these people were drug addicts or alcoholics or both. Perhaps it was the fear of the unknown or even a sad case of snobbery that caused my trepidation.” (Read more here.)
(Those of you who are writers, I also encourage you to visit her blog to find out about a Hunger-Games dissection she’ll be launching soon. We’re going to analyze these best-selling novels, looking at chapter hooks, subplots, characterizations, plot twists, etc, to see what makes them so successful among such a wide demographic. It’ll be a fun, relaxed time of chatting and idea-swapping. Join us on her blog and FB!)
I loved Shannon Taylor Vannatter’s story, It’s Not About Us because it reminded me of one of my favorite phrases: “When God guides, God provides.” God is in the stretching business. Quite often, He’ll put us in a position where our resources, talents, abilities fall short–on purpose. Because He wants to remind us it’s not about us. It’s about Him–the Creator of the universe–working in and through us.
“In 2010, our ladies prayer group at church set a goal of thirty shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child. Some of us had struggled financially that year. Some could only afford to fill one box, some no boxes, and some several boxes. We decided we would all buy however little or much we could, then bring our gifts to the church and fill the boxes together.” (Read the rest here.)
I loved Elizabeth Veldbloom’s story for many reasons. She had a real fear–one triggered by wise words spoken by her parents, the same words I often speak to my daughter–stay away from strangers. But instead of focusing on her fear, she sought out her Savior in prayer. Don’t miss this: Instead of reacting–positively or negatively–she first sought guidance from God. This is so important! By doing this, she allowed God to speak to her heart and prepare her for this man. (So often I do the opposite–react first and pray later.) You may remember, Elizabeth felt like her words were insufficient, but remember what Jesus told the disciples in Matthew 10:19?
“…do not worry about what to say or how to say it. At that time you will be given what to say.” And as we saw from reading the man’s reaction, the words God gave Elizabeth were perfect.
“One day when I was working as a receptionist I went outside to enjoy my lunch. As I rounded the corner to my favorite spot, I stifled a groan. A man I didn’t know was sitting at my table. Normally, I liked having lunch alone. It gave me a chance to think and re-energize for the rest of the day.
I decided to sit at the other table across from him, smiling and nodding. Maybe he’ll leave soon, I hoped.” (Read the rest here.)
Your turn. What account impacted you most this month and why? Most importantly, how did it change the way you went about your day?
I believe God will place someone in each of our paths *today.* Someone in need of a kind word, a prayer, a hug, a helping hand. Don’t walk away and miss the amazing opportunity to be part of God’s outpouring of love.
Once again, I’d like to thank all our June Reach Out donors!
Sandra Robbins with Dangerous Reunion, Elaine Marie Cooper with the Road to Deer Run and the Promise of Deer Run, Sherri Johnson with ebook To Dance Once More, Jerri Ledford with ebook Biloxi Sunrise, and Shannon Taylor Vannatter with Rodeo Hero.
Do you have a reach out story to share? Or something you’d like to donate to a future gift basket? Send me an email at jenniferaslattery(at)gmail(dot)com.