"What man of you, having a hundred sheep, if he loses one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness, and go after the one which is lost, until he finds it? And when he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders, rejoicing. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbors, saying to them, 'Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep which was lost!'"
December 11, 2019
Last week I wrote about kindness and how scriptures commands us to do so. This week is a continuation of that subject. It has been on my heart these past several days.
During the church service this past Sunday, the Holy Spirit showed me how the church often is lacking in building one another up. I think perhaps we often "think" that people know that they are appreciated or doing a good job at something or feel as if they matter. But if you really listen to the words of people, you will find that so many feel inferior or unworthy or insecure or lonely or ugly or unpopular or as if they don't fit in..... Few really know and acknowledge their worth and value as sons and daughters of the King. They think past hurts or mistakes define them.
I believe that it is time for believers to build one another up and encourage each other and live according to how scripture tells us how to live. It's God's desire for us. We need to know how to treat one another and how to give compliments and encouragement; and also how to receive such words from others.
Romans 12:15 tells us to "Rejoice with those who rejoice (or be happy with those who are happy); and mourn with those who mourn (or weep with those who weep)."
It's not us speaking platitudes to others, depending on their situation, because that is what is expected of us. It's not saying empty words, that really have no meaning, beyond making us feel better that we made an attempt to be happy or sad for someone else. It's not saying, "I'll pray for you," when someone is hurting or sick or needing God's intervention in a situation; then never truly doing so. It's not responding one way to someone, then turning around and speaking negatively about them as soon as we leave their presence.
But we are to truly and sincerely feel happiness and express it to others when they receive good news or have something wonderful happen in their life. It's feeling sorrow and mourn with others when they are hurting or have suffered loss or going through a difficult situation. In other words, it's reacting as Jesus would!
1 Thessalonians 5:11 tells us to encourage one another and build each other up.
Ephesians 4:29 says, "Let no harmful word come out of your mouth, but only what is beneficial for building others up according to the need, so that it gives grace to those who hear it.
Hebrews 10:24-25 says, "Let us consider how to stir up one another to love and good works, not neglecting to meet together, as is the habit of some, but encouraging one another, and all the more as you see the Day drawing near."
Something spectacular happened during the service this past Sunday morning. As I was sharing what the Holy Spirit had placed on my heart regarding this, suddenly I found anointed words pouring forth from my mouth that I had never intended on sharing. I found myself acknowledging each person, one by one, in the room and thanking them for something that they have done or something I appreciated about them; then the entire church body would heartily applaud for each one as a show of love and appreciation.
One lady has had a tough year, and I spoke heartfelt words of sorrow for what she has endured; but then turned it around spoke words of thanksgiving for her faithfulness in the midst of it all, then everyone clapped and cheered for her.
There are no words to express how incredibly powerful this was!! The look on each individuals face as the Holy Spirit gave me words to speak to them, then their brothers and sisters in Christ cheering for them, was indescribable. The look of anticipation to be recognized and called out was beyond words. It was a definite God moment!!
Too often people seem to think if we speak words of positive affirmation to others, it may cause them to be prideful or full of themselves. The truth is, no matter the age, it's important for everyone to be encouraged and have words spoken over them that give them confidence and hope. It is important to cheer one another on! We all need a cheering section throughout our life; and we need to be in the cheering section for others.
Babies are constantly growing and learning how to do new things -- sitting, crawling, pulling up, walking, feeding themselves, talking -- and they love being cheered on and encouraged. They love being clapped for and urged on when attempting something new. "You can do it! Yay!!" In fact, many times, they will clap for themselves and grin from ear to ear when they accomplish something that they are proud of. When they fall down and cry, they need to be picked up and loved on and encouraged to try again.
As children grow, they need to be supported and cheered on and encouraged throughout each stage of their life. They need words of affirmation. They need to hear that they are pretty/handsome, smart, kind, talented, funny, etc. They need to hear, "Good job!" when they do well. They need to be hugged and shown sympathy when they are bullied or fall down and get hurt or fail at something or get their feelings hurt or are embarrassed, etc. They need a cheering section; even when they may be irritating or moody!
Young couples need encouragement and support when starting careers, families, building their first home, deal with financial difficulties, or realize how tough life can be as adults. They need cheered on: "You can make it! You are doing just fine!" They need empathy and perhaps a shoulder to cry on, as those who are older remember back to their own life experiences and memories of how difficult life can be during those years. They need loved and built up.
Older adults need support and a cheering section as life often brings about many changes. They need to be encouraged and loved and time spend with them. They need to be made to feel as if they still matter and are important.
Regardless of which stage of life someone is at, they always have need of a cheering section. They need someone to treat them as if they matter. They need built up and shown kindness. They need words of affirmation. They need to be shown love; and told that they are loved. They need to know that they are important and have worth. They need to know when something that they do is appreciated. They need to know when they look pretty or handsome or look nice. They need to know when their song or sermon or lesson touches your heart. They need to know that others care. They need to know when they are hurting that others hurt with them. They need to know when they are happy, that others are rejoicing and truly happy for them. They need to be shown kindness.
We seem to hear often that we shouldn't do things for the thanks or compliments. So we end up rejecting the thanks for what we do for others. That isn't the point or the intention at all. I agree that we shouldn't be nice, or do things for others so that they will thank us, or complement our work. If they happen to neglect to say anything, we could easily get hurt or regret doing the nice thing in the first place. But that doesn't mean we should feel guilty when someone does thank us.
Sometimes we carry the attitude a step further, and avoid offering our gratitude or complements when they are deserved. Maybe it's because our offers of thanks get rejected, or so we won't give someone a wrong impression. But keep sharing your gratitude. Keep offering complements. And let the other person deal with their own issues.
Granny Schwyhart's Fudge
1 can evaporated milk
4-1/2 cups sugar
1 pint marshmallow cream
24 ounce chocolate chips
1 stick butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups nuts (optional
Put evaporated milk and sugar in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil for 6 minutes. Stir constantly after 4-1/2 minutes to keep from scorching. In a large bowl, put all of the other ingredients. Pour boiling mixture over ingredients in bowl. Stir until glossy. Pour in buttered dish.
**I like nuts in my fudge and Jon does not. So I pour half of the fudge in one dish and spread out, then stir in the nuts and pour into a second dish.
Growing up, Mama would always hide our presents in their bedroom closet until she got them wrapped. I remember numerous times sneaking in there and trying to take a peek at my present without disturbing anything so Mama wouldn't know. Sometimes I succeeded and sometimes I was surprised. Two or three days leading up to Christmas I would beg Mama and Daddy to please just let me open one present. It felt like Christmas was never going to arrive! We had a tradition when I was very young of having a Parton family supper with my mom's family on Christmas Eve, until the family got too large and it became too hard to get everyone together. After getting home, we would open our presents. After the family suppers were discontinued, our family still kept the tradition of opening our presents on Christmas Eve night. We'd have supper and clean up, read the Christmas story, then open gifts. One year, my oldest sister's two oldest sons quoted the Christmas story from memory. They were around 7 and 8 years old at the time. Such special memories!
She didn't expect to be pregnant. He didn't expect an angel to tell him to marry her anyway.
The shepherds didn't expect the night shift to be anything unusual.
God enters our lives in the most unexpected ways, but always with a perfect plan. - unknown
We love you!
Loretta & Jon