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

The God of Elijah!

It’s the early morning hours and I’m up reading with interest a story of the prophet Elijah. God had just revealed to him there would be no rain – not even dew – for three years. Essentially, he was told: famine coming!

What stood out to me was not only God provided for Elijah during this time of dearth, but it was HOW he provided that was so interesting.

In 1 Kings 17 verse 4, God “commanded the ravens to feed (Elijah).” We are told In verse six that they brought him bread and flesh each morning and evening; meanwhile, he drank of the brook. God provided food and water via birds!

Later, God told Elijah to go to Zarephath. God “commanded a woman there to sustain (him).”
Interestingly, she only had “a handful of meal in a barrel and a little oil in a cruse” for her and her son. Elijah – the man of God – comes along and instructs her to not only make a cake, but make it for him FIRST.

Now wait! This woman was a widow with barely enough. She wasn’t even making the proverbial end’s meet, so this request in today’s society might be considered, out of order, insensitive…ludicrous.

But clearly, this widow trusted this man of God and trusted the process. She did as told. She was not tight-fisted. Moreover, her obedience resulted in the barrel of meal not wasting and the crude of oil not failing during the entire three years of famine (v 14). Verse 15 says she “and her house did eat many days.” Wouldn’t our God do it??!

So much is wrapped up in this story:

1) God will provide in the most unconventional ways. You ever heard about birds bringing food daily? No going to the food store. Butler service!

You might think the school fees, gas to get to that interview for that job you so need, the grocery, the mortgage payment, the train ticket to go see your ailing grandmother, might come one way, but the beauty is not just when God shows up, but HOW he shows up. Expect the unexpected with God. Don’t box Him in!!! He is NOT man.

2) Despite recessions, despite increases in Value Added Tax (VAT), despite famine, GOD IS STILL GOD ALONE and will provide the entire time. It doesn’t matter what others are experiencing, if you remain obedient (this is key), if you remain faithful (also key), you shall not lack. “There is no want to those who fear Him” (Psalm 34: 9).

3) Even with your little…your only…your last, God is all sufficient. If you know without a doubt, He is instructing you to help someone in need, in spite of your own needs – do it. Sometimes God tests us with our little before handing us much.

Will you trust in the God of Elijah? Will you be obedient like the widow of Zarephath?

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Are You Thirsty for God?

Today is ‘Confession Saturday’ for me. Well, that’s what I called it as I prayed to God earlier. I was washed in tears as I confessed to God that during this Christian journey, there have been times when He has been replaced on the throne of my heart.

What is mainly on your mind? What are you passionately pursuing that God has become secondary to? Do you realize that when God says, “Thou shalt have no other gods before me,” (Exodus 20:3) he is speaking about any and everything from money, power, qualifications and position to beauty, spouses and children etc. It is possible to idolize so many things of the world and/or flesh.

Furthermore, there is nothing in this world or flesh we should want so badly that we literally yearn after it. I’ve been there and I can tell you that it was years of craving after it, but I didn’t see it like that. It was not until there was a clear indication from God that it was not His will for me that I received that revelation. I realized it had become a god to me. I wanted it badly and even prepared for it, but God said no. For a long time, I thought it was, “Not yet…wait.” Honestly, when I finally gripped it was “NO,” I was at peace and let go. It is no longer a desire of my heart. Thank you Jesus for deliverance!

I’m not saying we shouldn’t have goals in life – not at all – but certainly we shouldn’t become consumed with them. Nothing is worth losing our souls. The way we have passionately pursued certain things and/or people in life, we should pursue God even more. He is a “jealous God” (Exodus 20:5). He wants our attention. He wants my attention…your attention. We should be like David, panting after God like the deer panteth after the waterbrooks (Psalm 42:1). We should be thirsty for God!

I encourage you to re-evaluate your life and examine whether something or someone is taking the place of God, sitting up prim and proper on HIS throne. I say RIP IT DOWN TODAY!!! Nothing or nobody should ever come before God.

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah

Stop Complaining!

This is going to be short. I’ve decided to get straight to the point.

STOP COMPLAINING! Simple.

The Israelites did not remain in the wilderness for 40 years simply because of a lack of faith. They also stayed there because of complaining.

Angels’ food was not good enough. I suppose they wanted rosemary, thyme, garlic etc. Springs of water were not good enough either. I guess they wanted ginger tea, orange juice and the like. And they didn’t recognize that their clothes never got old nor did holes burn into their shoes.

What is God providing for you that you are complaining about?

I am convinced that the longer you complain, the longer you stay in the wilderness. I’m not saying you shouldn’t want better. But do yourself a favour and start being thankful for what you do have and the many blessings God has bestowed upon you.

Growing in Christ,

Hadassah