SMILE AWHILE and GIVE THANKS!
January/February 2016 ACTS magazine
Someone once asked the wife of Billy Graham, Ruth Graham how she raised their five children, and without hesitation, she replied, "On my knees!" My mother prayed a lot, too. I remember her praying the verse from Ephesians 3:20 many times. It says that God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think. God is so awesome! He is the healer of broken hearts, broken lives, and broken homes.
One day in the summer of 2014, Sonny pointed out a little dog that had walked a long way through the woods. It had taken refuge in our back yard, and was outside our fence on the east side of the house beyond the garage. The poor thing just stood there staring at us with all its hopes and fears. It was hurt and stood motionless watching us to see what we would do. Sonny took it some food and put up a make-shift shelter with an overturned tub. Later I checked on her, and she was resting under the tub. Because she was wet from walking through the tall wet grass, the coolness of the evening caused her to shiver. I found a blanket and covered her.
Day by day she grew stronger. I called her Sylvie. One evening I heard her barking back and forth with the two puppies we had at the time. Now we only have Lucky, they chose him from the Dog Pound. Lucky is actually my daughter Andrea's dog that adopted us. Sonny said she likes the food at our house better. Anyway, I realized that Sylvie was outside the fence on the north side of the house, and just had no idea how to get back inside the yard.
I guess we too often get ourselves into predicaments that we too have no clue how to resolve. Thankfully God is there!
I had to walk all the way around the outside of the fence of our yard which is overgrown with thorn bushes, weeds loaded with ticks, and possibly snakes which I abhor, to reach Sylvia. As I reached down to pick her up, she trembled in fear, but quickly calmed down and I carried her back inside the yard. I suspect she had been mistreated, and was such a sorry-looking sight for a long time. She had apparently taken a very nasty blow to the top of her head, and who knows what else?! Poor thing!
Silvie stayed with us for just six or seven months, and then one day, Sonny put her outside, and she walked unsteadily in circles. He thought perhaps she had suffered a stroke, and had to relieve her of her suffering.
I like to think that we made the last six months of her life more comfortable, and perhaps in some way made up for some of the mistreatment she had suffered. She was actually a good dog, even though her shrill barking could become somewhat annoying at times.
My grandson Ashton disliked her, because she would bark incessantly at him! But Sylvie was only protecting what she perceived as hers, and doing her duty.
Sylvia often just stood and stared at the chickens and the mischievous puppies and at Sonny when he watered the garden. It was as if she just didn't know what to make of it all.
Silvie was a lot like some people. Life has been hard on them, and for them, sometimes by their own poor choices, and sometimes by things beyond their control. I often think of D.L. Moody, who said when he observed a drunk lying in the gutter, "There but by the grace of God, go I."
There is a prophecy that says that the people who sat in darkness saw a great light. That light is Jesus, and now WE are the like the light of the moon that reflects the light of the SON of God. It is the light of Jesus that shines through us.
I remember on occasion flying into the Dallas/Ft. Worth airport, and being amazed as I looked out into the darkness of those two large cities that seemed to stretch on forever in the darkness and seeing the lights that shone here and there bravely into the darkness.
Today, more than ever, the world is growing increasingly dark, and we as followers of Jesus are the light of the world. John 5:14
Jesus said in John chapter five, for us to let our lights shine among men that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven. At one point, there were those who were offended at Jesus, and left. Jesus looked at Peter and asked, "Will you also go away?" Peter replied, "To whom will we go? YOU have the works of eternal life." The words Jesus spoke were spirit and life. They were then. They are today. They are the most powerful words in the universe.
As followers of Jesus, we have been given a precious gift, because we know these things.
Many people are like Sylvie. They have suffered harshness and unkindness at the hands of others and sometimes carry deep emotional wounds. They are searching for something more and better than they have known. Everyone needs kindness.
Jesus said, "If I be lifted up, I'll draw all men to me." He is the giver of life. He alone is worthy of our praise. Psalm 121:2 says, "My help comes from the Lord which made heaven and earth." Jesus is the healer.
We must be strong in the Lord. We must go in the power of HIS might. "The Lord is my strength and song, and he has become my salvation. He is my God and I will prepare him an habitation, my Father's God and I will exalt him."
We must lift up Jesus by your words and our lifestyle. We must show kindness to others.
We must not forget to smile gently to others, and smile a LOT! It makes us more attractive, and attracts others. A smile is contagious.
It is good to smile even if, and sometimes especially if you don't particularly feel like it. Smile when you first wake up in the morning.
Thank God for another day of life! Thank him for his goodness and love. Smile because Jesus loves you and gave his life for you. Smile even when no one is around and see how much better it makes you feel. A smile can relieve tension, and help one to relax.
The world needs kindness! People so desperately need to know just that someone cares, and that they have value as a human being made in the image of God.
ACTS - Advocating Christ The Savior