Today’s Text and Thought of Encouragement:
“They (Naomi and Ruth) arrived in Bethlehem at the beginning of the barley harvest.”
Ruth 1: 22
“How To Deal With Bitterness” – Part VI
“A Heavenly Cure – The Hands”
“Always keep your eyes open for the little task, because it is the little task that is important to Jesus Christ. The future of the kingdom of God does not depend on the enthusiasm of this or that powerful person; those great ones are necessary too, but it is equally necessary to have a great number of little people who will do a little thing in the service of Christ.”
In what way do I believe God has called me to use my hands to serve others?
How do I believe serving others helps to heal the bitterness I may carry in my own life?
"If I can stop one heart from breaking,
I shall not live in vain;
If I can ease one life the aching,
Or cool one pain,
Or help one fainting robin
Unto his nest again,
I shall not live in vain."
“We are all pencils in the hand of a writing God, who is sending love letters to the world.”
Naomi came back to Bethlehem, empty and bitter. But thankfully, God didn’t want her to stay that way. In fact, I’ll go a step further, God did not intend to let Naomi stay that way. He wouldn’t let His “delightful” daughter linger in the land of despair.
And so, when Naomi arrived back in the “house of bread,” Bethlehem, God started at the beginning with Naomi’s heart. This is the place where His healing began. Then God fed Naomi from heaven’s banquet table and replaced the bitter words on her lips with words of pleasantness. Words that reflected the new-found gratitude and praise that filled her heart.
However, something exciting happens in all our lives when God’s healing warms our hearts and His praise is on our lips. There’s one more essential ingredient in God’s formula for removing the bitterness that invades us. God counteracts the acidic effect of bitterness by filling our hands with something to do for Him.
Believe me, when I say, I know what I’m talking about, for tomorrow I’ll explain this statement in more detail. But for now, I’ll just say that Transformation Garden was God’s gift in my hands to destroy any remnant of bitterness I was harboring in my life after another person tried to kill my husband and me. What’s more, if you would have asked me many years ago whether I would be writing a devotional everyday that’s read in 192 countries around the world, I would have told you that you were crazy!! The idea sounds impossible to me. And it is, if I were depending on myself. But I am not. Instead everyday, I’m a living testimony to the words of Andrew Murray, “We have a God who delights in impossibilities.” And this same God doesn’t just give me His unimaginable assistance. His help is for you just as much as it is for me or anyone else. It is for every person who in the words of David Smithers, “reaches for the impossible.”
It was when Naomi was empty and landed in Bethlehem that God said, “It’s harvest-time. And I have something for you to do.” I find it so overwhelmingly fantastic that it was at the “beginning of the barley harvest” when two empty widows walked into the “house of bread,” ready to be filled by their Father who took away the bitterness by healing a heart, putting praise on the lips, and filling the hands with God-given work.
At a time of complete emptiness and bitterness in your life, it may well be that God will give you your greatest work for Him. All He needs from you is your willingness to open your heart to Him and to the service He calls you to do.
In the orphanage founded by Mother Teresa in Calcutta, India, the words to this daily prayer are spoken:
"Dearest Lord, may I see you, today and every day, in the
person of your sick, and whilst nursing them, minister unto You.
Though You hide Yourself behind the unattractive guise of the irritable,
the exacting, the unreasonable, may I still recognize You, and say, 'Jesus,
my patient, how sweet it is to serve You.'
Lord, give me this seeing faith, then my work will never be monotonous. I
will ever find joy in humouring the fancies and gratifying the wishes of all.
Sweetest Lord, make me appreciative of the dignity of my high vocation, and its
many responsibilities. Never permit me to disgrace it, by giving way to coldness,
unkindness or impatience.
And , O God, while You are Jesus my patient, deign also to be to me a patient
Jesus, bearing with my faults, looking only to my intention,, which is to love and
serve You in the person of each one of Your children.
Lord, increase my faith, bless my efforts and work, now and for evermore."
What a beautiful commitment to God’s call for us to serve Him. And what a wonderful way to remove the pain in our own hearts as we help those whom God puts in our pathways who need our love.
I’ve always been inspired by the writing of Corrie ten Boom. One of my favorite stories is about a nurse attending the sores of a leprosy patient.
“I would not do that for a million dollars,” a visitor watching the nurse was heard to say.
The nurse replied, “Neither would I, but I will do it for Jesus for nothing.”
If you are struggling with the enemy of bitterness, then open your heart to heaven’s healing; let the power of praise and gratitude be on your lips, and open your hands so your Father can fill them with the special task He has for your unique talents.
As Rita Snowden prayed, “I bring you myself this day – my body, mind, and spirit – in worship and praise and service. Send me out in Your spirit to do Your will in Your world…Let my humble offering of life contribute to Your honor and glory.”
"Small service is true service while it lasts;
Of humblest friends, bright creature, scorn not one;
The daisy, by the shadow that it casts,
Protects the lingering dew-drop from the sun."
"Lord, Your harvest is the harvest of love;
love down in the hearts of people;
love that spreads out
like the branches of a great tree
covering all who seek its shelter;
love that inspires and recreates
love that is planted in the weak and the weary,
the sick and the dying.
The harvest of your love is the life that reaches
through the seeds of sin and death
to the sunlight of resurrection.
Lord, nurture my days with Your love,
water my soul with the dew of forgiveness,
that the harvest of my life might be Your joy."
Dorothy Valcárcel, Author
When A Woman Meets Jesus
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