The Best Presents!

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I recently had an interesting experience in the food store. As the packing lady finished storing the groceries in my three bags, she handed them to me. I asked if she was going to take them to the car, but she murmured under her breath and looked ahead to the next customer. I was taken aback.

I really could have used the help as one bag was heavy with meat for my mother. I could be wrong, but perhaps with only three bags, she figured she would not have gotten a big enough tip. I don’t know.

I am a stickler for good customer service and I expect it even from the packing lady at the store. She shrugged me off. Further, I noticed she didn’t budge from the packing area; hence, preventing the next in line a chance to pack and gain a tip. As I exited the store with my three bags, I stopped to the first packer waiting on the line and gave her the tip I had for my packer.



Do you see how easy it is to despise something that was meant to be a blessing? Sometimes that increase is too small or perhaps that position too lowly. Maybe the present you received was seemingly too cheap. The Bible says in 1 Thessalonians 5:18, “In all things give thanks for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus...”

After that experience, I thought of how a packer at another store reacted totally differently a few months earlier. As this student from A. F. Adderley was packing my bag, I was honest and told him I had no cash on me, so I would take my bags to the vehicle. This time, it was no three bags; it was a full trolley.

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He humbly said it was okay and he would still take my groceries to the vehicle. I was impressed with this young man. He knew upfront he wasn’t getting a dime AND after not getting a dime, he would have to go to the back of the packers’ line.

I took the opportunity to express my gratitude and briefly encouraged him in the Lord. I promised him I would be back to give him a tip at some point.

Within two or three weeks, I returned to the store solely for that purpose. I met him on the line chatting with his peers. I asked if he remembered me. He said yes, with big wide, almost-smiling eyes. I escorted him off the line and pulled out a card from my bag which had a handwritten note of encouragement. Inside, I had slipped a handsome sum of money – way more than I believe the average packer receives for a tip.

The young man received a gift for doing for me when he knew he would get nothing in return, whereas the lady seemed to reject assisting possibly because the reward might not have been big enough.

Some of the best presents come in unassuming packages.

I understand packers make no salary, but attitude makes a huge difference. Let us be careful how we handle situations. Remember: The best presents aren’t always in the glittering or biggest packages!

Growing in Christ,
Hadassah

Behind the Mask

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Honestly, there is a part of me which likes being behind the masks we have to wear these days – unfortunately due to COVID-19. I honestly feel incognito.

In fact, one day, I had on my mask, shades and a wig (the latter because my natural hair is a mess!). I rarely use the shades, but the mask helps to shield my identity – to some extent. Between that wig with bangs over my forehead AND a mask, I go about often without revealing who I am.

Yesterday, I thought of how spiritually, many people are hiding behind masks. Their true identities are not known. A person can be in the choir, an usher, a deacon, pastor, the praying old lady who sits in the same spot every week, a stalwart member of the church or a babe in Christ who sits in the back pew – it does not matter. God has called us to be honest people. We shouldn’t be “holy-art-thou” when we walk into the church building with the loudest praise and the scripture-laced prayers, but cheating on our spouses, lying to a Customs Officer when it’s time to declare what we are bringing into the country or calling in sick when we are not.

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“For God shall bring every work into judgement, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil. ” ~ Ecclesiastes 12:14.

God is not impressed with the outward appearance. We can only hide or fake our ways through for so long. He looks at the heart (1 Samuel 16:7). We are expected to be the same person outside the church service or prayer meeting as we are when we go to those walls. After all, the church is not the building – it’s the people. Our lives are sermons everyday.

“…walk worthy of the vocation wherewith ye are called.” ~ Ephesians 4:1

Growing in Christ,                                   

Hadassah

Are You Missing Out on Your TRUE Love?

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A line in a song by American singer, the late, Whitney Houston states: “Learning to love yourself, is the greatest love of all.”

I disagree.

Of course, we are free to have differing views and that’s fine. Maybe she was just singing the lyrics someone else wrote or perhaps that is how she truly felt. I believe self-love is important, but the GREATEST love to exist in my opinion is certainly the fact that the Great God of the universe sacrificed his ONE, DEAR Son to die on a cruel, rugged cross for your sin…and mine, so we can live a victorious life here on earth and live with him eternally.

Love is sacrificial. You know that if you are a mother, father…spouse. When we love, we give of ourselves. Some parents go without lunch so their children could get the resources needed to build that school project, parents sacrifice vacations to send children to college, wives have left their jobs to take care of an ailing husband or parent…the list goes on.

“True love is not hinged on what the other person does or does not do…what the other person can or cannot do. True love is sacrificial and unconditional.”

But imagine the sacrifice of literally sacrificing your child and doing so for a world which doesn’t deserve it?  That’s what OUR GOD did.

The song which comes to mind right now is a line in my FAVOURITE HYMN in ALL THE WORLD, ‘And Can It Be‘:

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That line just AMAZES me! The thought of God sending His Son, who became God in the flesh, to die for ME – a human who came from dust and shall return to dust – is just AMAZING!!!! This love which God AND His precious Son, Jesus Christ has for us is beyond the chocolates, the perfume, the massive floral arrangements…the diamond ring, the date…it is indescribable. Really!

So my question to you on this Valentine’s Day when so many people pull out all the stops, is Are you missing out on your TRUE love? Do you have a relationship with the One who will NEVER leave you NOR forsake you, even when the flowers have withered, the ring needs cleaning and the spark in that relationship is very low?

If you don’t know the God, whom I know – the GREAT I AM that I AM – I encourage you to come into relationship with Him today. No big words are necessary. Start drawing closer to Him, letting him know that you wish to have a relationship. Trust me – you won’t be embarrassed! He won’t leave you hanging. Once you are sincere, he won’t turn you away.

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Wishing you a lifetime of love, with the ONE who loves you like no other!!!

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Clogged Feelings

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Recently, a small piece of soap slipped down the drain of the tub and as small as that was, it caused a back-up of water. The water was draining out of the tub, but slowly. I contacted my brother, who is a plumber, and he got the job done. The water is now freely flowing down the drain.

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As I thought of that simple situation, my mind went on the fact that so many people sometimes have things which are blocking their freedom. You  haven’t been able to get pass how offended you were when your colleague said something to you; you are still holding in a sibling for what he or she did when you were teens; when you hear the name of your college room mate, you want to roll your eyes; you have a problem with the mother who did not invite your child to her child’s birthday party or maybe you aren’t speaking to your neighbour based on an argument over his tree hanging over in your yard. There are a myriad of things which we not only allow to offend us, but we hold them in, allowing malice, hate, unforgiveness…to lodge in our spirits. When we do carry these negative vibes with us, it’s less about the person and more about us, and where we are in our spiritual lives.

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Back in the early 1990s when I was in college, there was a girl who I understood had something to say about me. I didn’t like it one bit! Now, I was never a fighter and had no intention of fighting her, but I surely felt a burning desire to approach her about what I heard she had to say.

I had it all planned. I went as far as going on campus earlier than normal that morning because I knew where she hung out (under a particular tree) and I needed to tell her a piece of my mind. I – with my 110-lb frame back then – was going to fly some words in her face! Well, as per usual, she came walking towards the area with a friend of hers and I confronted her. After I told her my five cents, I walked off, feeling like a champion. I felt I let her know, “I don’t play!” or in modern terms, it would be: “Stay in ya lane!”

Some four years later, I accepted Jesus Christ into my life as Lord and Saviour. I began to grow and change was taking place. Interestingly, about a year into my relationship with the Lord, I was about to go on a fast (it was not my first fast) and the Holy Spirit prompted me. I don’t know why I wasn’t prompted earlier, but God is an on-time God. He brought her face and name to my attention and I instantly knew he was directing me to deal with that matter from years prior.

At that point, I was working and I also knew where she worked, having seen her at that organization a few times. I put pride aside, called her and told her I wanted to apologize for the way I approached her that early morning, under the tree. Believe it or not, she was very receptive and we had a wonderful conversation. And even had she not accepted my apology, most important was to be obedient to the Holy Spirit. Pastor of In Touch Ministries, Charles Stanley, coined the phrase: “Obey God and leave the consequences to Him.”

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When I hung up following that conversation, I was FREE! It was a wonderful feeling and there is nothing like a clear conscious. Honestly, before the Holy Spirit prompted me, I didn’t even think of that incident. When I would see her over the years, she was always far away in distance and we never had to interact. I didn’t feel I was holding her in, but perhaps it needed to be cleared up because she might have been the one holding ME in. I don’t know.

You see, the Bible states clearly in Matthew 5 verses 23 and 24:

“Therefore if thou bring thy gift to the altar, and there rememberest that thy brother hath ought against thee;

Leave there thy gift before the altar, and go thy way; first be reconciled to thy brother, and then come and offer thy gift.”

God knew I had a situation that was not cleared up and it was time to address the matter. Why it took so long for me to be prompted – I don’t know.

Honestly, I’ve had more than one experience like this. I even just had a situation last year, but it took a much shorter time to speak to the individual. In that case, I told her I was VERY HURT. I didn’t even call her; I emailed. She was quite apologetic and I was finally able to move on because before that, just to see her, I would want to avoid her. In fact, I said that had the matter happened BEFORE my wedding, I would not have invited her. That’s how affected I was. It bothered me greatly. I felt she crossed a line. She went too far. I felt I could no longer trust her – if she could go that far.

On the other hand, I’ve had situations where my conscience beat me up and I felt the need to apologize within minutes, hours or within a day or two. God is working on me people!

My prayer is that God will CLEAN ME UP in the name of Jesus because we serve a God who is very forgiving. And of course, we shouldn’t allow people to walk all over us, but certainly, as Christians, we ought not to hold people in. God has called us to “put aside” bitterness, malice etc. (Ephesians 4:31). When we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us of our sins and to cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness (1 John 1:9)! PRAISE YE THE LORD!!!!

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I encourage you to pray and ask God to reveal to you if there are any matters you need to clear up before man and Him. Today, I am more in tune with God, thank God, so to not deal with a matter when I am feeling condemned would be disobedience. The enemy wants to keep us trapped! However: Freedom is beautiful! Unshackle those chains TODAY in the name of Jesus!

 

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah