Friday, March 04, 2005

Weekly Word for March 4 - 11, 2005

Weekly Word - March 4, 2005

Trust in the Lord, and do good; . . . Delight yourself in the Lord; And He will give you the desires of your heart.
(Psalm 37: 3a & 4)

It was going to be a “celebration” - a time to “honor” two people who had given of themselves to others. Both had donated time and money to their church as well as other organizations. So, as the preparations were happening all around, I heard these words: “They both deserve this - don’t you think?” and I wondered about that - about what we deserve . . .

Commit your way to the Lord, Trust also in Him, . . . And He will bring forth your righteousness as the light, . . .
(Psalm 37: 5 & 6a)

As the car sped along, the three of us wondered about the worry we saw on our father’s face. As the trees and houses sped by - we knew that something was wrong! Then we heard it, the police siren. We watched as my father talked to the officer, and then the officer wrote out the ticket. The rest of that day is a blur. That is, until much later when my mother heard about the ticket. “Didn’t you tell him that your mother was dieing?” she asked. My father looked down - shaking his head. “You shouldn’t have gotten this ticket” she said angrily. My father just looked away - the hurt filling his eyes - and all of his being. He hadn’t deserved to get that ticket - or the hurt he felt . . .

Rest in the Lord and wait patiently for Him; Do not fret because of him who prospers in his way, . . . (Psalm 37: 7)

“Sometimes I wish that I could hear the words thank you from others” she told me. “Just a simple thank you would be enough to make it worth all the work!” she continued on. And I thought about that - - - about getting what we deserve - - - and how so many times it doesn’t happen quite the way we hope . . .

Many years ago, I was babysitting. I started out watching their first child - a little girl. She was just 6 weeks old when I first started to take care of her. Her family was struggling to make ends meet - and so I filled in the gaps wherever I could. Jen and I became this little one’s second family - keeping her overnight whenever her mom needed help. As poor as we were - the house was full of laughter and joy! There was always games and singing - and I knew that this little girl was growing and learning good things in our home. Then her mom told me that she was having another baby. As we prepared for this second child - her mom and dad found themselves a better place to live - and better jobs. And then their son was born. With two little ones to watch - somehow things became more and more difficult. I had gotten very sick - but I still wanted to help out - I wanted to continue caring for both children. But things had changed - - - and I was no longer needed.

When I heard the stories - stories of the family complaining about me - stories that weren’t true - - - I became so angry! I knew that I had given good things to the babies. I knew that I hadn’t gotten enough money to even cover the groceries and diapers I bought each week for them. But it didn’t matter! I wanted to scream it from the hilltops - to tell everyone I saw - the truth! I had worked hard to help out - doing what I thought was a good thing! I deserved much more . . . I should have been given thanks - given honor - but . . .

“Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them; otherwise you have no reward with your Father who is in heaven.”
(Mathew 6:1)

We all want to be “rewarded” for the good things we do - but it doesn’t always happen the way we think it should. Like so many others, I found myself struggling with how I felt. But then the Lord gave me a dream:

In the dream I saw myself just doing my job - cleaning, washing floors, doing things that were simple. As I worked, there were very important people all around. I knew they were much more important than I was! They were leaders, and they were collecting money to help others. They came to me and asked me to donate - telling me how important their work was - and I knew it was the truth. But I also knew that I didn’t have much money. So I told them that I had already given, but they didn’t believe me! Just then - the doorbell rang. When I answered it, I found a boy standing there - holding a scroll. He unrolled it and started to read. In front of all those important people, he read off what I had given. It was much more than anything I could have ever imagined! And then - looking at the others in the room - he said I would be rewarded for all I had done. Everyone in the room was shocked - including me! Then I woke up . . .

“But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing - that your alms may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will repay you.”
(Mathew 6: 3 & 4)

I have told about my friend Norma - who has since passed on to be with the Lord. She worked very hard, for many years, in a ministry to young girls who were facing crisis pregnancies. Over the years, she developed classes for pregnant and new mothers. She worked with the towns in the area - helping these young mothers to go back to school - to help their families to become healthier and stronger. Then, Norma became very sick. She continued to work with the ministry - for as long as she could. As she became sicker - the time came when she couldn’t work at the center any longer. Then one day, when I went to visit her at home, she told me about a dream she had. In the dream, she saw a large trophy - that she knew she had won. The trophy was huge - bigger than a building! In the dream - she wondered why she had won it. And then she heard: “For all you have done - helping My little ones” . . .

During her life, Norma never won any awards for the work she did here on earth. As I sat with her that day - we talked about all that she hoped would happen with the ministry. She hoped that the classes she started would continue - - - that the girls would become strong and healthy, and become good mothers for their children. She hoped that somehow she had made a difference in some of these families’ lives.

The ministry that Norma helped to start - has changed a lot since her death. It has moved a few times - and become very different from when she was there. Did she make a difference? I believe she changed lives - including mine - forever!

“But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys, . . . For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
(Mathew 6: 20 & 21)

Treasures in heaven . . . I know that Norma found her “treasure” - her trophy - there in Heaven . . .

As for the two who would be honored soon - - - did they deserve it? I don’t know. But I do know that God knows exactly what we deserve - and where our hearts are. There have been times when I know that I didn’t deserve something - good or bad - and still . . . It is what I got. I was divorced, angry, and hurt - - - not knowing if I could ever love again! Somehow though, God must have seen my heart - and known something that I didn’t. Because He gave me the life I now have - with Ted. Did I deserve it? I don’t know - but I thank Him every day - for the gift . . . .

“For God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” (1 Samuel: 16: 7)

For where your treasure is . . . There will your heart be also . . .

Where is your treasure? Will you look to the Lord - giving Him all that you do - every day? In that simple gift - He will reward you - with more than you can ever imagine! His rewards are better than anything we can give to ourselves!

God bless you in this coming week ahead!

In His Love,
Debbie & Ted Ayers


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