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My Seven Cents
You've heard the expression "that's just my two cents" ... meaning, that's "my humble opinion", or "what I have to offer". Well, here's a little something to add to your contemplations, and perhaps due to inflation, it's more like offering my SEVEN cents.
A few days ago, I was making the rounds at various stores in the pre-Christmas hub-bub, making some pretty good headway, actually. Listening to snippets of the news on the radio going store to store, there had been some mention of a shooting up in Connecticut, but that the shooter seemed to be dead, no victims reported at that time. Nothing that drastic, just one more sad story to add to so many lately.
Stopped in at the dollar store, and picked up a couple things for a couple of dollars. Didn't realize they wouldn't take a credit card (and not wanting to put anything more ON the credit card), I fished around in my change-purse, finally making the exact change to pay. The lady after me purchased one item as I put the purse away, and apparently only had a dollar, and realized they wouldn't take her credit card. Her tax came to seven cents, but she only had the dollar.
I would have offered her the seven cents if not for my propensity to be quite oblivious at times.... Thankfully, she said something like "I don't mean to impose, but would you be able to give me seven cents, since I have no change?" I said "of course", and handed her the coins.
Say a Prayer
As I turned to leave, she thanked me very gratefully, and said she wished she had something to offer me, but didn't. I said "say a prayer for me, that's worth way more anyway."
As I headed out to the parking lot, she quickly came out as well, again thanking me. Here's an approximation of our conversation (her name was Elaine):
Elaine: "Thank you so much. It's so nice to have someone do something NICE for a change. See, I was feeling a little blue. I just heard about a shooting up in Connecticut... Have you heard?"
Me: "Oh, yes, I heard a little bit about it in my travels, but haven't heard a whole lot recently."
Elaine: "I just don't know what's wrong with our country."
Me: "We've forgotten God..." (I could see a connection in her eyes, and a softening.)
Elaine: "You're so right, I hadn't really thought of it that way..."
Something seemed to really hit home in her heart as we spoke for a few minutes. I told her that Jesus loved her, and as I again turned to leave, felt moved to ask her if she had a relationship with Him. She said yes, she's Catholic, and I sensed she might have felt encouraged to draw nearer to Him in this trying time. I gave her my card, in case she wanted to listen to some music about Him, etc...
Jesus Loves You, Too
Felt blessed to have been able to encourage her, and got back in the car. Flipped on the radio, and dissolved into tears as the news came on, now beginning to fully explain the details of the sheer horror that had occurred. Somehow, through those tears, the encouraging whisper of the One Who arranged that little conversation a few minutes prior wafted into my assaulted heart "Jesus loves YOU too, you know...."
Since then, it's practically all that is in the news, or on people's hearts. It seems that the evil one will do just about ANYTHING to steal our joy, ESPECIALLY at this time of year. The time of year when holidays focus on light in the midst of the darkness. The darkness seems to stalk the unsuspecting like a black hole.
Here's my encouragement to myself and anyone else who'll listen: Let's not allow the evil one to steal our JOY. The joy of the Lord is our STRENGTH. Jesus has overcome the darkness. He is the Light of the world. While preparing His disciples for His crucifixion, He said "In this world you will have trouble. But take heart!" (or "be of good cheer,") "I have overcome the world". (John 16: 33b)
Evil will come and increase as the "day draws near" for sure... Yet, how the Light of Christ can dispel that darkness. Just like even the smallest candle shining in our darkened homes recently, after being plunged into literal darkness and frigid nights by Hurricane Sandy.... On those long nights, how desperately we needed those candles and flashlights in order to do virtually ANYTHING. We need the Light of the Spirit even more profoundly in this present spiritual darkness.
As the saying goes, we could simply curse the darkness ... or we could always light a Candle. (For more ideas on this, see another meditation entitled "Good Light, Irene".)
Look at the extent to which the evil one goes to discourage us. And look at the simple grace with which Jesus can shed some light on our situations. Sometimes all it costs us is seven cents. Sometimes all we have to offer Him is faith the size of a mustard seed.
SURELY we have seven cents we can offer; surely we can summon up a tiny grain of faith for Him to use! Our salvation cost HIM everything. Keep your eyes and heart open for a situation, perhaps this very day, in which He might move you to offer up to Him your own seven cents, to bless a neighbor; to encourage the fainthearted; to let a brother or sister know that yes, indeed, Jesus DOES love them; to introduce a lonely soul to Him in the first place.
Truly, He loves YOU, my friend. He is close to the broken hearted, and surely there are MANY broken hearted around us at this time.
Encourage One Another
"Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another--and all the more as you see the Day approaching." (Hebrews 10:23-25)
Praying that He will shed light on the coins lying at the bottom of YOUR change-purse, beckon to your heart to pull them out, and place them into the hands of someone who is currently taxed beyond their own limits. Surely, that could describe just about everyone you see in your travels. May He always be the Candle, burning brightly in the midst of our darkness...
So, take it for what it's worth.... It's just my seven cents! I pray that by His grace, He might use it to supply your needs this day.
If this discussion has stirred up any questions for you, feel free to email me back (lisa @ shiningriver.com, leave out the spaces...), or if you'd like to know more about coming into a personal relationship with Jesus Christ, feel free to visit the following URL: http://www.lovinggrace.org/fellowship/salvation_prayer.html
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