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Good Deeds


I’m a proponent of paying it forward. If you’re unfamiliar with this concept, it’s that you do good deeds for others, especially those who can’t pay you back. Instead of them paying you back, you ask them to do something good for someone else when they have the ability. I’ve been the recipient of many of these deeds growing up. I had never heard of the concept of paying it forward until one couple who blessed me tremendously told me I could pay them back by doing something for someone else one day.

I’ve never forgotten what they did, and have tried to be generous to others as a result. What they did was plant a seed of generosity into my life, and over time that seed has become a tree. When you think of an orange seed, it doesn’t just produce an orange. It produces a tree capable of producing many seasons of oranges that are capable themselves of many trees. Seeds are not a one for one thing. They’re a one for many thing. They take root, grow and continuously produce.

Proverbs 11:30 says, “The seeds of good deeds become a tree of life” (NLT). The writer knew about paying it forward all those centuries ago. He understood that when you bless those who can’t pay you back, you plant seeds that grow into trees and they become a tree of life. Most all of us need help at some point in our lives when we are incapable of paying it back. Don’t turn away the seeds that someone else wants to plant into your life. One day, that tree they planted will be needed to produce for someone else. 

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Be An Advocate


One of the greatest gifts Jesus gave us was the Holy Spirit. In John 14:26 He said, “But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative—that is, the Holy Spirit—he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you” (NLT). Jesus gave us an advocate as a gift. He gave us someone who would speak and plead on our behalf. He knew that there would be times when we felt like we wouldn’t have a voice and needed one.

Not only that, the gift He gave us reminds us of the things He told us. There are so many times in life that we don’t know what to do. We need wisdom from above in our toughest times, and the Holy Spirit comforts us by reminding us of the promises of God. Those verses that come suddenly into our thoughts are not there by accident. The peace in the storm isn’t there by chance. They are the Holy Spirit at work in our lives.

One of the greatest gifts someone gave me was a car that I desperately needed when I couldn’t afford one. When they handed over the keys, I asked how I could repay them. They said, “One day, when you’re able to, do the same thing for someone else.” They knew that my life wouldn’t always be where it was. They had the foresight to know that one day, I would be in a better position than I was at that time. I believe the same principle applies with our need for the Advocate.

When we are no longer in desperate need for someone to plead on our behalf, I believe we can be an advocate for others. It is truly a godly act since that’s what He does. Proverbs 31:8 says, “Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves; ensure justice for those being crushed.” There are people all around us who don’t have a voice, and we have the ability to advocate for them. One day, with God’s help and yours, they will be at a point where they can return the favor to someone else. It’s the gift that keeps on giving.

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Good Deeds

  
I love the idea of paying it forward. I always smile when I read a post on Facebook that is thanking an unknown person for buying their coffee or lunch. I think those actions and posts inspire others to do similar things for other people. At work, I challenge new employees to do one thing for someone else each day. It can be as little a gesture as opening a door from them to letting them go first in the check out line to buying their lunch to wherever their mind leads them. The point is to train them to open their eyes to the needs of others.

Human nature has always look inward rather than outward. To break that habit and to begin looking to the needs of others, you have to challenge yourself to look up from your own life. Each of us have enough things going on in our lives that make us too busy, too poor, and too blinded to help others. We have excuses lined up as to why we don’t have the time or resources to help someone out.

The truth is, that simple gestures, like opening the door for someone, cost you no money or time. They are things you can easily do, but make a difference in others. Do you remember the Golden Rule? “Do for others what you want them to do for you” (Matt 7:12 GNB). If it’s a gesture you would appreciate, then do it for someone else first. Pay it forward so that you begin the chain reaction of people doing something good for someone else. The Golden Rule is a simple concept really, but it requires us to think beyond ourselves and to be the initiator in positive actions.

Decades after Jesus taught the Golden Rule, Paul was writing to Titus, a leader in the church, about the behaviors Christians should exhibit. In chapter 3 verse 8 he says, “I want you to give special emphasis to these matters, so that those who believe in God may be concerned with giving their time to doing good deeds, which are good and useful for everyone.” Doing good for others should be part of the DNA of all believers. It should be our concern to find things to do for others that are both good and useful.

So today, be on the lookout for people who you can do a good deed for. You’ll be surprised at how big a small gesture can be to some people. You’ll feel good in the process and who knows, it may even open up a door to share your faith or to pray for someone. Start today. Begin making an effort to look up from your life and you’ll find that opportunities abound for you to do good deeds for others. It’s an easy and effective way to be the hands and feet of Jesus in a world that desperately needs His presence.

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What Pleases God

When I look at my social media feeds, I’m always intrigued by what goes viral. I think it gives a glimpse into who people are and what’s important to them. My favorite viral posts are those of someone doing good for someone else. Inevitably in the comment section (yes I read those too), someone will write something to the effect, “Why are we so intrigued by this? They did what we are supposed to do. This shouldn’t be viral. This should be common.” They have a point. Doing good for someone else without knowing you’re being seen or hoping to go viral is what we should be doing.

As Christians, we have a particular responsibility to help others in need. Throughout the Bible, God tells us to care for the poor, the weak and the defenseless. He asks us to show His love to those whom society deems the least worth it. Yet, in our day and age, someone who does something God commanded, goes viral because it isn’t commonplace in our society. We have stopped looking around because we are looking down at our phones. We have abandoned reality for a virtual world of fantasy. The by product of those exchanges is that we fail to fulfill our purpose in serving others. 

Hebrews 13:16 says, “Do not forget to do good and to help one another, because these are the  sacrifices that please God. (GNB)”  When we are so busy with work or so enthralled in our mobile devices that we forget to do good, we are too distracted to see those whom God places in our path. We have to find a way to lose the distractions that prevent us from seeing those to whom we could be doing good for. The Message Bible writes the end of this verse in very specific terms for us. It says, “God takes particular pleasure in acts of worship – a different kind of “sacrifice”- that take place in kitchen and workplace and on the streets.

The opportunities to do good are all around us. If you’re not seeing them, you’re too distracted. If you’re seeing them and not doing anything about it, you’re neglecting to do the sacrifices that please God. There are people who come to your house who need a kind word, a smile or help. There are people beside you at work who are hurting and feel like no one cares. They desperately need a child of God to bring light into their darkness. There are people walking past you on the street, in the parking lot or in the store who could use a smile, a kind gesture or someone to lay it forward. That’s not someone else’s job. It yours if you call yourself a Christian.

We shouldn’t do things in order to be seen or to go viral. We should do it out of the love God has placed in our hearts for others. Jesus said in John 13:35, “If you have love for one another, then everyone will know that you are my disciples. (GNB)” That love is expressed in outward acts of kindness that others can see. It’s not done in order to be seen, but as an expression of love from the Father. So today, put away the things that are distracting you from seeing those who need help. Look to do good for someone. Smile and tell them, “God said He loves you.” God takes a particular pleasure in those acts of worship.

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Right Words at the Right Time

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I believe in the power of words and in paying it forward. I was excited to see a news story out of North Carolina that combined the two. A family went to dinner at a pizza restaurant and their child with special needs started to get rowdy. People started looking and I’m sure it was embarrassing for the parents. A waitress walked over with tears in her eyes and said, “Another customer has paid for your dinner and wanted me to give you this note.” It read, “God only gives special children to special people.”

At a moment when these parents were upset themselves over the situation they couldn’t control, someone else saw through the temporary and gave them hope through words. Proverbs 25:11 in the Message says, “The right word at the right time is like a custom-made piece of jewelry.” The customer who sent over the note had no idea that this family needed those words at that moment like they did. The mom said, “Little did he know what struggles we had been facing lately and this was surely needed at that moment.”

The mom also said that this one gesture outweighed all the other rude and negative comments they face every day. Proverbs 18:21 says that the power of life and death are in the tongue. Each one of us wields a powerful weapon. How we choose to use it matters. The easy thing in this situation is to roll your eyes and ask why they brought the child into a public restaurant in the first place. I’m sure most of the patrons in that restaurant fit into that category. Thank God for one person who had the boldness to not only say the right words at the right time, but purchased their meal too.

That’s where paying it forward comes into play. I believe paying it forward is scriptural. Most of us had to memorize the Golden Rule as a child: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you. There probably isn’t anyone reading this who wouldn’t love to be at dinner and to have the server come over and say, “Someone has paid for your meal.” We would love that, but have we done it for someone else? The Golden Rule doesn’t say, “Do unto others as they have done unto you.”

You may not be in a position to buy someone’s meal, but you are in a position to speak life into someone. If you see someone having a difficult day, give them an encouraging word. If you see someone struggling where you’ve been, offer a helping hand and words of advice. A saying I heard a while back still rings true. It says, “When you share in someone’s sadness, sorrow is divided. When you share in their joy, it is multiplied.” We all have days where we would love to have our emotional load divided with someone. Why not pay that forward today and help someone else out?

If you’d like to read the article I’m referencing, click here.

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Smacked by God

My brother said I could share what happened to him yesterday. He was pulling into a fast food restaurant with his son to grab lunch. As he was turning in, a lady whipped in front of him nearly hitting them. She was in a hurry to eat as well until she got in the drive through line. Once she got there, she started using her phone. The line would pull forward, but she was oblivious. She’d look up and notice and then pull forward.

After what seemed like an eternity and I’m sure 10 minutes of complaining about her, they got to the window to get their food. He handed his card to the person at the window and they said, “Actually, the lady on front of you paid for yours. It’s free.” He looked at my nephew and said, “That’s how God disciplines us. It’s in love, but it hurts.” They then laughed the rest of the day about how he had been behaving and how God smacked him.

A lot of times, each if us let our pride, anger or selfishness get in the way of our attitudes. We let those things change who we are into people we don’t recognize. We complain, scream, argue and find fault with others. One little, insignificant in the face of eternity event happens and sets us off. We let it dominate our thoughts, our attitude and our actions. Before you know it, we aren’t in control anymore. Our blood is boiling for what seems justified at the moment, but not long term.

Thankfully, God cares about us and usually will do something to end it. In this case, and I think in most cases, a little dose of humility was in order. But God didn’t just impugn him to humble him. God blessed him and at the same time showed him the error of his ways. That’s what I love about God. He doesn’t act like us or think like us. If I were in charge, I don’t think I would have blessed him for how he was behaving. Thankfully I’m not God.

In Isaiah 55:8, The Lord says, “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways.” He loves each one of us individually and corrects us how He sees fit. He knows if we need to be beaten over the head with a 2×4 because He can’t get through to us any other way (guilty). He knows if we need a gentle, quiet rebuke. His discipline always fits the situation and the person. No matter how He does it, it’s always done in love with our best interest at heart.

Hebrews 12:5-6 says, “My child, don’t make light of the Lord’s discipline, and don’t give up when He corrects you. For The Lord disciplines those He loves.” If God corrects you or disciplines you, don’t get angry at Him. He loves you enough to correct you and to point you in the right direction just like a parent would for their child. Accept it in love, laugh about how you were behaving and then make the adjustment so He doesn’t have to do it again.

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