Give a Little Bit

Give a little bit
Give a little bit of your love to me
I’ll give a little bit
I’ll give a little bit of my love to you
There’s so much that we need to share
So send a smile and show you care

I’ll give a little bit
I’ll give a little bit of my life for you
So give a little bit
Give a little bit of your time to me
See the man with the lonely eyes
Oh, take his hand, you’ll be surprised

Anyone remember this song? You may not remember it from 1977 when it was released by Supertramp, but you’ve probably heard it since. This tune was playing in my mind this morning. I don’t know why, because I can’t imagine the last time I would have heard it on the radio. I started thinking about the words though and something else came to mind that I’ve been thinking a lot about lately…encouragement.

Think about the last time someone told you you did a great job. Maybe you cooked dinner and your family went back for seconds because they thought it was so good. Maybe you posted something on Facebook and you got 60 “likes”. Maybe you taught a Sunday School lesson and someone told you you really have the gift of teaching. Perhaps you’ve worked hard to lose weight or you got a new hairstyle and someone noticed and complimented you.

These things are so simple, but they pack a powerful charge of positive reactions. If I realize that my family actually enjoyed what I made for dinner, I feel appreciated. I want to cook something wonderful for them again. If I post something on Facebook and get 60 “likes” it makes me feel like people care about me and what I’ve shared with the world. These simple ways of encouraging others make people feel like you care about them and what’s going on in their lives. If I’m encouraged about my teaching skills, I feel like there’s a reason for me to continue. Maybe God really is using me to tell others about Him. And so on with the weight, hair, etc. It’s an uplifting feeling just to know someone noticed and took the time to mention it. Encouragement presses us on toward the goal, whatever the goal may be. It also makes us feel loved, appreciated, and cared for.

The Bible teaches us to encourage one another. One of my favorite verses is Hebrews 3:13.
“But encourage one another daily, as long as it is called “Today,” so that none of you may be hardened by sin’s deceitfulness.”

I love this explanation by Jill Camarin:
“If overexposure to sin causes hardness of heart, then being built up and encouraged daily will prove just the opposite. It will keep our hearts soft, pliable and receptive to the Lord. This is why the writer of Hebrews instructs us to find daily encouragement in one another, because it strengthens us for the day ahead. Encouragement of this type comes in experiencing the body of believers who were meant to share life with. “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” ( Hebrews 10:24-25 ). Knowing that Jesus promises to be in the middle of the relationship, when we share our lives with other believers drawing encouragement from them we are also built up in faith; ready to operate as God’s ambassadors in this world.”

I realize there are different types of encouragement. Spiritual encouragement relates to our faith and our relationship with The Lord. Encouraging someone by liking their post on Facebook or noticing they’ve lost a few pounds, might not further the kingdom, but it just might perk them up and give them a boost for the day ahead. It shows them that someone cares about their life and who they are.

I have a long way to go when it comes to encouraging others, but I’m asking God to help me. So…give a little bit of your love, your life, and your time today. Just like it says in the song, you’ll be surprised!

Love,
Karen

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Lessons From a Dog

We have a dog named, Baxter. He is short, fat, and black. A mix of dachshund and corgi. My Mom found him in her pasture with a plastic coffee jar stuck on his head. Apparently, he had been looking for food and had gotten himself into a bit of a mess. At just 8 weeks old, he was a pitiful little sight with an injured ear and more fleas than you could count.

My children had been begging for a dog, so there you go. They thought God had delivered a puppy to their doorstep in response to their prayers. (I won’t tell you what my husband thought!)

Baxter has been with us for 2 1/2 years now. Below you will find a few lessons I’ve learned from him. Even though these are behaviors I’ve observed in a dog, I think they can be applied to our lives as Christians. Simple, basic lessons.

*Bark if there’s danger. Someone will rescue you. Once inside, relax and be at peace.

Baxter is a barker. He barks a lot. But if he senses danger, he will bark even after the danger has passed. He will bark until someone lets him come in the house and rest safely in his cage. Once inside, he is completely at peace. Isn’t that how we are when turmoil arises in our lives? We cry out to the Father. More so than any other time. He hears us and draws us to Himself where we can be comforted and find peace.

*If someone gives you a bone, hide it. It is your treasure.

Baxter hides his bones. Even if it’s pouring down rain. He treasures them and saves them for later. God tells us to treasure His Word and hide it in our hearts. Why should we hide it in our hearts? So that the treasure of God’s Word will be there when we need it. So we can pull it out and apply it to each life situation as needed.

*If you’re hungry, go straight to your master. Ignore everyone who tries to distract you along the way.

Baxter likes to run in the door without permission. Once inside, it becomes total chaos. He runs straight for the cat’s food. The children scream like…well…like children and convince themselves it is the perfect excuse to run wild in the house. Of course, Baxter, in spite of his fat tummy that almost touches the floor, outsmarts them every time. The children dive and jump and Baxter gets away.

After observing the excitement for a few minutes, I decide it’s time to restore order. I call, “Baxter” and he’s at my feet within seconds. He knows I’m his master. I’m the one who consistently takes care of him. He also knows I will give him something good to eat if he obeys me.

So when we are hungry for God, we should avoid the chaos and distractions around us. We should run as fast as we can to receive the good things He has to give us.

*Know the difference between friends and enemies.

We have a cat named, Tiger. Tiger was here long before Baxter arrived. I’m not sure if you can say a thought crosses a cat’s mind, but if that’s possible, I can honestly say the thought to like Baxter has never crossed Tiger’s mind. Tiger despises Baxter. If he is ever near him, he hisses. If Baxter ventures too close, Tiger strikes with his paw. Tiger is an enemy to Baxter.

However, when we board Baxter during vacations, he stays in a boarding place that has a resident cat. Guess who sleeps with Baxter almost every night? Yes, the cat. Baxter knows the difference between a friend and an enemy. He avoids Tiger at all costs, but allows the friendly, resident cat to share his bed.

We, like Baxter, should be fully aware of the difference between friends and enemies. There are people in our lives who will try to tear us down by pulling us away from God. If they are enemies of God, we should avoid them.

Does this mean we shouldn’t share Christ and His salvation with those who don’t know Him? Not at all. We should tell them about Jesus and all He has done for us. We should pray that they will allow Christ to be The Lord of their lives. But if they do not believe, we should not allow them to become so close to us that they begin to influence the way we live. Remember the example of a person standing in a chair and a person on the floor. It’s much easier to pull someone down than to pull them up.

Our friends who are closest to us should have the same beliefs and values that we have. This way we can encourage each other to follow God’s ways. We can hold each other accountable as well as love and care for each other. These are true friends.

I started wondering if this post was a little silly to compare a dog and a Christian, but then I found this quote from John Calvin.

“A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw that God’s truth is attacked and yet would remain silent.”

It appears that he learned a lesson from a dog as well. 😄

Karen

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