Tuesday, September 26, 2017

SMILES: A Different Kind of Ministry

A joyful heart makes a cheerful
face, but when the heart is sad the
spirit is broken (Prov. 15:13 NASB)
Sundays are not just a day of worship and rest for me; it's  also the day I catch busy friends and relatives for long and pleasant chats!  Such was the case a few days ago when I called a nephew in Chicago and he blessed me with news of an incredible ministry he is now involved in!  Well, he didn't realize it was a ministry, but tell me what you think!

Due to a recent and painful season in his personal life, he found himself with too much free time and too little money for his comfort!  So he decided to become an Uber driver. With his quick wit, charming personality, and surprising vast knowledge of the bible (he's not a member of any church) this has proven to be a perfect fit for him!

He of course meets all types of people as you would imagine, but there was one that he definitely made an impression on! It was a celebrity television news anchor who was so infatuated with his positive attitude and great smile that she posted a selfie with him on her Facebook page and mentioned him by name on the air!  Her simple tag: You have the Power to Brighten Someone's Day! got me to thinking. What if we all made a conscious effort to SMILE more!!! 

Now, I know this sounds too simplistic for a lot of Christians.  We want something with a little  more spiritual oomph to it...preaching, teaching, street evangelism, healing, and praying for deliverance sounds more like we're doing God's work!  Sitting and grinning doesn't quite make it in our Book of Righteous Works!  But Sisters, do you realize what the power of a smile or the lack of one can do?  Just as the moon gets its glorious brightness from the reflection of the S-U-N, every ministry done with a SMILE, reflects the love of the S-O-N (Jesus Christ) in us!

Here are some things we need to consider:

First, God loves to see His children smile!  He's concerned when they don't!  Take the case of Cain in Genesis 4:6-7.  When his sacrifice was rejected by God for being inadequate, Cain didn't say anything but his face and attitude betrayed him. His lack of a smile showed disappointment and even after being instructed lovingly how to remedy the situation continued the sullen behavior until the whole matter became too much for him and he killed his brother, Abel!  (Proverbs 18:14A man's spirit will endure sickness, but a crushed spirit who can bear?) A smile and a good attitude might have prevented a murder! 

Second, God is not the only One concerned when you don't smile, others are too! If you've ever had a job involving customer relations, you know how important it is to present yourself to the public with a smile! It helps people relax. Engaging in conversations, even difficult ones gets easier, and whatever you have to deal with begins on a more positive note. Nehemiah, cupbearer to the King in Nehemiah 2:1-3 found this out when his usual cheerful attitude was missing and drew the King's attention.  This gave Nehemiah the perfect scenario to describe the suffering of his brethren and get the needed resources from the King to help them out of a difficult situation. (Proverbs 12:25 - Anxiety in a man's heart weighs him down, but a good word make him glad.) The lack of a smile can be a strong indicator of a need that can only be met by you!

Third, a smile doesn't always mean that one is truly happy! Some people smile only when things are going well. Having their way is the only time a smile is worth showing!  But happiness is a poor substitute for true joy isn't it? I think King Ahab would agree! In I Kings 21:4-7, the king is unable to clinch a deal with Naboth for a desired vineyard. So he goes home and sulks and grows increasingly depressed.  Jezebel his wife tires of his attitude and hoping to lift his spirits has Naboth slandered and  murdered seizing the property.  However, Ahab's smiles of temporary happiness soon turn to sadness as he and his family suffer under the judgement of God prophesied by Elijah.  (Proverbs 15:15 -All the days of the afflicted are evil, but the cheerful heart has a continual feast.) Smiling (especially when you don't feel like it) shows you are waiting on Someone greater to bring you joy!

What have we learned about this unique but often neglected Ministry of Smiles?
  • Heartaches, disappointments, and trials in life must be mastered.  Don't take your frustrations out on others.  Smile no matter what's going on.  It's good medicine for the broken-hearted! (Proverbs 17:22)
  • God is greater than any of our fears and anxieties. Read God's Word, Pray and Seek out the very best resources available to help relieve the situation, but remember that you also must avail yourself to be the answer to another person's prayers! (James 2:16)
  • Smiles need to be genuine and not just reserved for times when you get your way or to impress certain groups of people.  Be a reflection of God's love,  grace and wisdom wherever you go and in whatever you do! (Eccles. 8:1b)
  •  Smiles are not just for ushers, greeters, church receptionists, or those serving on the hospitality ministry.  This is a ministry that EVERYONE belongs to!

- Mother Teresa


If you would like to leave a comment please send an email to: sisters4sisters@att.net OR  scroll to the bottom of my blog page at  http://alittlewiser63.blogspot.com  click on the  no comments by the pencil and it will change to a writing space.

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

From Mediocrity to MAJESTY!

"You have made them a little lower
than the angels and crowned them with
glory and honor." (Psalm 8:5)
Joy, pure joy! That's the only word that comes to mind when I think of Sunday's celebration of women at my church.  How does that old hymn go?  What a fellowship, what a joy divine, leaning on the everlasting arms... 

This was the finale of our annual women's bible study and while jubilant over the book, Living In the Pink, by Sharon Tubbs, I think we all felt a bit overwhelmed and surprised by the bonding that took place over the six weeks we were together.

It was a journey of transparency, reflection, and revival as we compared our lives with those of the characters in the study, wincing often when one of them stirred up some familiar guilt or pain.  But somehow we always came away inspired and never condemned; evidence of the grace of God permeating this wonderful book.

The highlight of course was the author,  Sharon Tubbs as our guest speaker for the day!  Having met a few celebrity writers, I couldn't vouch for the character of any one of them if you asked me!  But Sharon's passion and authenticity is readily apparent!  She desires to do her part in bringing every Christians into the divine power and authority for which they were created (Psalm 8:5; Ephesians 2:10; Hebrews  2:7).  In other words, to take us from Mediocrity to Majesty!

Here's a brief summary of her message:
  • Mediocrity is going to church on Sunday.  Majesty is trying to be like Christ seven days a week!
  • Mediocrity is praying for where God wants to take you. Majesty is praying for where God wants to use you!
  • Mediocrity is encouraging your significant other to come to church. Majesty is not sleeping with him the night before!
The move from Mediocrity to Majesty is all about Stretching!

1. Stretching beyond a life of "Me" - Nehemiah 1 - Comfortable in Persia, Nehemiah was concerned about his brothers suffering in Jerusalem. He sacrificed prestige and a plush environment to do something about it!

2. Stretching beyond "They and Them" (Living to please others) - Genesis 29:31. Leah, the unloved wife of Jacob tried to win his favor by producing multiple male heirs. She finally comes to the realization that God is the only one she needs to please and it is He that deserves all her praise!

3. Stretching beyond Your Blessings - 2 Kings 4:8-17 - The barren Shunammite woman settled for a mediocre life of complacency.  She had no son and hopelessness almost denied her the opportunity. But God taught her through her selfless service to the prophet, Elisha, that when you Delight yourself in the Lord, He will give you the desires of your heart! (Psalms 37:4-5)

Sharon Tubbs asked a question of herself that we should all ask!  Where is the greatness in my life?  Are my dreams, gifts, and talents buried beneath a facade of mediocrity? If so, it's  time to do some Spiritual Stretching:

Stretch UP toward the hills which comes our help! (Psalms 121:1) 

Stretch BEYOND the ordinary to the Extraordinary! (Ephesians 3:20)

Stretch OUT, bringing someone else with you as you discover the majesty of this truth...we are made just a little lower than the angels and crowned with glory and honor! (Ps. 8:5) 


If you would like to leave a comment please send an email to: sisters4sisters@att.net OR  scroll to the bottom of my blog page at  http://alittlewiser63.blogspot.com  click on the  no comments by the pencil and it will change to a writing space.