I am grateful for my devotions today that are no coincidence:
Good deeds have a way of coming back to bless us. John Wooden, the great basketball coach who passed away recently at the age of 99, was admired for the inspirational influence he left on players and fans alike. His life was shaped by a seven-point creed. He often passed it along to others, explaining that his father had given him this bit of advice upon his graduation from grammar school.
- Be true to yourself.
- Make each day your masterpiece.
- Help others.
- Drink deeply from good books, especially the Bible.
- Make friendship a fine art.
- Build a shelter against a rainy day.
- Pray for guidance and give thanks for your blessings every day.
When we are kind to others and practice a merciful attitude, we become recipients of mercy ourselves. Just as the sower reaps the crop he has sown, so do merciful people reap what has been planted in the lives of others.
Don’t get tired of doing good!
Talent is God-given; be humble. Fame is man-given; be grateful. Conceit is self-given; be careful. – John Wooden
Let Me teach you thankfulness. Begin by acknowledging that everything – all your possessions and all that you are – belongs to Me. The dawning of each new day is a gift from Me, not to be taken for granted. The earth is vibrantly alive with My blessings, giving vivid testimony to My Presence. If you slow down your pace of life, you can find Me anywhere.
Some of My most precious children have been laid aside in sick beds or shut away in prisons. Others have voluntarily learned the discipline of spending time alone with Me. The secret of being thankful is learning to see everything from My perspective. My world is your classroom. My Word is a lamp to your feet and a light for your path.
Last evening was interesting. Something bizarre happened that I could not have predicted. I should have expected it, because at this point in my life, when God is involved, bizarre things happen. But once again, I was caught off guard and blown away by His goodness and the way He directs.
As I posted yesterday, Sunday afternoon, Sam and I decided to take a walk, since I had erroneously listened to the weathercasters predict doom and gloom in the form of damaging winds/hail/rain/tornadoes, cancelling our small group party, when in fact, it turned out to be a breezy, sunny afternoon. I was a little irked at myself for cancelling, but we decided to take advantage of the afternoon and take a long walk. And of course, I made another bonehead decision and convinced Sam we should take the much longer route for more exercise…
As my day went…the storm clouds rolled in, and we realized we weren’t going to make it back before they were directly on top of us. We cut through a neighborhood to shorten the distance home, but it wasn’t enough of a shortcut and we were caught in the rain.
And that’s when God decided to rain down a blessing on us in the form of a stranger named Ernie. He was at a stop sign on his way to the store for some aspirin and saw these two desperate walkers trying to hurry their way to shelter from the storm. So he rolled down his window and asked how far we had to go and would we like a ride? No hesitation on our part, we jumped into his pickup and gushed our thanks, introducing ourselves and giving directions to drop us at the corner of our street. Nothing doing – he insisted on driving us all the way to our front door. As we exited the vehicle, we again said “Thank you” and promised to pay it forward to someone else. His response was a handshake and, “Well, thanks be to God.”
Yes. Thanks be to God. End of story, right? Nope. Normally, yes. But God had an even better blessing in mind.
We had been inside for a few minutes, still marveling over the kindness of a stranger and how in fact, we were so thankful to God for Ernie, and Sam wished out loud that if only we knew his contact information, we could take him some homemade banana bread or cookies or something in appreciation. We knew the neighborhood he lived in, so we made a batch of cookies, and just before dark and after the storm ended, we set out to find that green Ford pickup.
It took awhile. But after 20 minutes of driving up and down street after street, in the darkness of the evening, and just when we were about to give up and so disappointed, there it was. Parked in the driveway of a nice home with no porch light on, we took a chance and rang the doorbell. And sure enough, Ernie answered the door. Sam quickly handed him the container of cookies and a thank you note, we apologized for interrupting the night, and we got back in the car, once again so grateful for the chance encounter with this kind older man. End of story, right? Nope. Better blessing to follow…
Fast forward to last evening, just before dinner. Sam and I were in the driveway, getting ready to go inside, when he noticed a green Ford pickup that had pulled up to the curb next door. A kind, older gentleman got out and was walking up the sidewalk to the house, and Sam realized it was none other than Ernie! He called out to him, and Ernie realized he was at the wrong house. What a surprise to see him once again! He wanted to stop by to thank US for the cookies and note. And he wanted to introduce us to his wife, Delores. What ensued was a beautiful conversation with the two of them and the beginning of a new friendship. We discovered that we had something in common – they also attend a Methodist church and work with children and youth in the church. And we all agreed to keep in touch and get together again soon, that this connection was no coincidence – it was God-inspired, and God-blessed.
I am grateful for chance meetings that aren’t chance at all.
I am grateful for devotions that continue the life lesson God is teaching at the moment.
I am grateful that Sam has taught me to reach out and touch.
And I am grateful for Ernie and Delores, no longer kind strangers, but new friends.