I chose the word "intentional" for my watch word for 2014. It kind of sums up how I want to live my life this year. By saying I want to be intentional, I am saying I want to be present in the moment and I want to be intentional about spreading God's love, loving others right where they are and ultimately building God's Kingdom.
Lofty goals indeed, but as a wise person once told me, "Practice on the small stuff so that when it gets to the big stuff, you are prepared."
Normally I get off the ramp from the interstate not far from my house and I mindlessly come to a stop and daydream until the long light turns green. This day, however, there was a tall, thin scraggily man with a long gray beard sitting on an overturned bucket and holding a cardboard sign.
Okay, Bev, time to be intentional. I beckoned him over to my car window and looked him straight in the eye and asked his name. He responded, but I was too captivated by his eyes to remember what he was telling me. He had the kindest smile and these piercing blue eyes that twinkled when he talked. He politely took off his Vietnam Vets hat and told me a little of his story. We talked as long as the light would let us...until we were rudely interrupted by the car horn behind us. "God bless you," I said as I handed him some money. "Dios te bendiga," he responded. "That means God bless you in Spanish," he kindly responded back.
The whole way home I couldn't get those piercing eyes and that gentle, kind smile out of my mind.
I wondered, is this one of those times when Heaven touches earth. When the sacred meets the secular?
I did feel like I was the one who had been blessed. Had I sat there daydreaming with my window up, I would have missed out on a real blessing that day.
Every day God gives us doors for His love to walk through. It's up to us what we do when He opens those doors.
I have gathered some of my favorite verses that speak to living and loving intentionally:
Romans 5:8: But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.
We don't wait for someone to earn or deserve our love...we are called to love others like Christ does - while they are still sinners.
Ephesians 2:4-5: But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ - by grace you have been saved...
We are saved by grace so we need to love with grace. Our love extended can literally bring life to the dead. I love the phrase, "But God". The world judges, condemns, shuns...But God...
That simple phrase calls us to a different standard!
1John 4:7-8: Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love.
John 13: 34-35: "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you are also to love one another. By this all people will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another."
In his song entitled, "With Every Act of Love" by Jason Gray, he sings:
God put a million, million doors in the world
For His love to walk through
One of those doors is YOU.
With every act of love
We bring the Kingdom come
Every simple act of kindness, each gesture of love inches His Kingdom closer.
How intentional are you about living each and every moment as if you could bring the dead back to life? Like me, are you daydreaming through life's red lights, or are you looking around for a door through which you could walk and bring love, true love to a dark and hurting world?
I'll end this post with two quotes that have inspired me to live...to love...more intentionally.
"God is love. Therefore love. Without distinction, without calculation, without procrastination, love." (Henry Drummond)
"Speak life and light into the inky chaos; that is why God breathes life into you." (Deidra Riggs)
So I challenge you, just as I challenge myself; are you a door for God's love to walk through? Remember practice with the small stuff and no gesture is too small!
In His love,
ps. Congratulations to Joanne who won the Spring Giveaway Drawing (DaySpring mug and Starbucks gift card). Thank you to everyone reading my blog. May you know how truly loved you are by our Creator! Be Blessed!