Pre-Dawn Walking

It wasn’t my plan to be outside walking before the sun came up this morning. However, with the dog whining and the daughter already off to work, up I was. And what a wonderful delight I found outside.

It was still quiet. Early enough that people were not out and about and late enough that I could see the lights turning on in the neighborhood. As Olie led me down the pathway I could feel the unfamiliar silence in the complex. The wind was lightly blowing, the grass slightly wet, and the crescent of the moon was still visable. In the distance I could see a glimmer of the new day dawning as I stood on the sidewalk looking skyward.

Weeping may tarry for the night,
    but joy comes with the morning. Psalm 30

I found myself thinking that if I had stayed in bed even a few minutes longer I would have missed all this. I would have missed the crisp air bringing my skin to life. I would have missed the simple walk that brought light into my day. If I had focused only on me instead of the needs of a four-legged friend who depends on me, I would have missed the best blessing of the day.

How often do we hesitate to step out of our comfort zone for the good of another? How often to do pull the covers up and say “someone will tend to it.” How often do we miss the joy that God will send our way when we look beyond self and love and care for others in the world around us?

I visited the Lamb Center in Fairfax, Virginia yesterday. What an amazing place. It is a small facility that is making a huge change in the lives of the homeless, and in the lives of the volunteers. Here visitors are given a hot meal and a place to socialize. Here they can find someone to pray with them and attend recovery meetings if needed. They can get a hot shower and have their clothes laundered while they look for a job or talk to someone about government services. They can meet with a nurse practitioner or a dentist. And they are so loved and respected in this simple place.

You see people who are willing to step out are blessing others and receiving a blessing in return. They don’t do it for the return benefit – they do it because God has placed a love for the less fortunate on their heart. Here people don’t have the luxury of a bed let alone the covers to pull up to hide under. Here people have said ‘yes’ in a big way–one person at a time.

Start your day early. Look beyond the normal. See where God would love to use you. Maybe it is the homeless, maybe young children, maybe the disabled, or maybe just the neighbor next door. Look up and see the wonder of this world and see what you can do to lighten the walk of another.

God bless you on your walk.

“Let me hear of your unfailing love each morning, for I am trusting you. Show me where to walk, for I give myself to you.” Psalm 143

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The Gift of Community

 

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 In general terms we define community as an organized network or a coordinated effort to bring people together. Communities develop as people are drawn together by common interests. Maybe they are inspired by activities such as sporting events/clubs or charitable events.

One of the most important aspects of community is that it is a place to develop new relationships. We are drawn to places out of common interests, but usually we are drawn there in the hope of developing new friendships. After all, isn’t the foundation for most friendships something we have in common be it work, church, sports, animals, or charity? Continue reading

Loving the Refugee Among Us

I am struck this morning by Jesus’ command to love our neighbors as ourselves and the words of his followers about loving one another, especially fellow believers. I can personally attest to the way in which my life was changed by the love of people in the Christian community. I also know that there were those who would rather I not be around and who did not think I belonged in their group. They were the ones who looked down on me because of my circumstances and thought I was of less value than they because of my situation. It breaks my heart when I see that today.

Refugee. Displaced. Escapee. Fleeing from danger. Running in fear. Lost. Alone. Desperate.

Those words came to me this morning as I read Jesus’ and the disciple’s words about love. As I read about loving those in the body, I wondered about those refugees coming to strange lands with no hope. I wondered about the fear I am reading that many here in America have about what this change means for them. I wondered how it is we as Christians can believe in Jesus and have read the stories of his outreach to strangers, and yet we are not rushing to embrace these people.

The man I follow crossed the road for the despicable, for the untouchable, and for the criminal. His only agenda was to touch them, love them, and give them an opportunity to know that they are worthy of God’s love. They were all valuable in his eyes, even the loathsome sinner. This Jesus went into areas of the world where no Jew was to go to show us that there are no boundaries or borders to God’s love for man. And by his actions they came to know God the father and Jesus the savior and their lives were transformed.

Why then as Christians are we not overjoyed at the arrival a people in need of God’s love? Why are we not rushing to them with arms full of clothes and food and jobs? Why are we not sharing God’s love with them rather than pushing them away as the untouchable? Why are we letting the fear that Jesus told us to let go of run us? Why are we not taking this time to give them an opportunity to become part of the body of Christ?

Where is the love?

I am not a political person. I don’t write a political blog. I am just a believer and follower of Jesus Christ who tries to live out his message in all that I do. Maybe this is radical thinking for some of my readers and I hope it gives you pause to pray about the neighbors who share your streets and will compel you to cross the road to say “hello” and build a new relationship with them. Maybe this will encourage you to adopt a refugee or immigrant in your midst and share the love of Jesus with them. Maybe we who follow a God of love and second chances will be gracious enough to offer the same to a stranger. I pray that today God will present you with the opportunity to do that and I pray that we as the body of Christ will find a way to love the hurt and broken he is sending to us. HE IS SENDING TO US! The broken have come to our shores and there couldn’t be any easier way than that for us to share Christ’s love than in this moment.

God bless,

Maggie

He makes the whole body to fit together perfectly. As each part does its own special work, it helps the other parts grow, so that the whole body is healthy and growing and full of love. Ephesians 4

Image by The Refugee Art Project