If you missed Lead Pastor Ben Snyder’s video in yesterday’s study, take a moment and listen to it as he shares vision for this year’s LivingItOut Bible Study, and invites you to journey along with us through the New Testament.
Vision for the 2019 LivingItOut: Video
On New Year’s Eve, I read a fascinating article about a woman named Jen Kramer, which had been published originally in the Chicago Tribune and then been shared with me via Facebook. Last year, she made a New Year’s resolution to spend the following 365 days uplifting others. It became her #yearoflove. Every day, all 365 days in 2018, she chose a different person to celebrate. She chose family, friends, and complete strangers, often not knowing from one day to the next whom she “would drop the love bomb on” (as her boyfriend called it) the following day. She then published her uplifting account of the chosen person, including their picture, in a short post on her FB page, praising them to the world for who they were.
I found this story very inspirational. We all want to feel loved and feel like we matter. We want to know that others love and care for us, that we are valued and appreciated, and that we would be missed if we were no longer here. But too often, we forget to tell others why we appreciate them in our lives. With family and friends, we may have the opportunity to remedy that the next day, though we never know, of course, whether we will indeed get another chance for sure to say the things that were left unspoken. With strangers, we may never see them again, and the opportunity may be lost forever.
In the first chapter of Mark, we read how Jesus healed many people of sicknesses, including a man who had leprosy. Leprosy is a cruel and debilitating disease caused by a bacterium that basically causes your body to rot while you are alive. Today, it is curable, but back then, it was a slow death sentence. Not only were you going to die, but to make matters worse, you were going to be isolated in a leper colony until your death because leprosy was considered to be highly contagious. So, you not only lost your life but you also immediately lost upon diagnosis all contact with your loved ones for fear of infecting them.
40 A man with leprosy came and knelt in front of Jesus, begging to be healed. “If you are willing, you can heal me and make me clean,” he said. 41 Moved with compassion, Jesus reached out and touched him. “I am willing,” he said. “Be healed!”
While we may not have the ability like Jesus to go around healing people the way Jesus did, I think this story points toward another purpose we can serve. Physical sickness is the same as “soul sickness” in that both are destructive and both need healing. We can find purpose in our life by bringing healing to people in our lives by uplifting them with words of encouragement, showing them acts of kindness, and pointing them to Jesus.
I have been on the receiving end of this kind of healing. Over the past few years, especially this past year, I experienced some very big and if it were not for the wonderful friends with whom I am blessed, I do not know how I would have weathered these storms. My friends, who so patiently listened and provided words of love, support, comfort, and spiritual advice as well as hugs (never underestimate the immense healing power of a hug!), were and still are my lifeline. They make me strong and able to focus so that I can make it through whatever the current storm is.
Remember the power of kind and praising words as well as the power of a hug (when appropriate), and wield these “super powers” as often as possible with loved ones as well as strangers. You most likely will be making their day through this simple act of kindness!
Today’s Scripture Reading: Mark 1:29-45
When was the last time you uplifted someone through your words or actions?
Is there someone in your life that you could uplift today and provide healing for their soul?
Is there someone who is or was trying to uplift you?
Have you thanked those that uplifted you in some way in the past?
Make a list of people (family, friends, and strangers) whom you could praise and uplift or help to weather a current storm. Set for yourself the goal to uplift someone weekly, or maybe even daily.
21 Days of Prayer -Day 2
Prayer Focus: My Love for God and Others (Matthew 22:36-39)
Dear God, you said that the greatest commandment for me to follow is to love you with all of my heart, soul, and mind. Equally important is to love my neighbors as much as I love myself. Over these 21 Days of prayer as I connect with you, grow my heart so that I will love you more. And as I fall in love with you, help me to love those around me more and more each day.
This post was written by Cordula Mora. Cordula is a neuroscientist who currently works in the Provost office at Bowling Green State University. She was born and raised in Germany, then spent many years living in New Zealand before settling in the US almost 16 years ago. She was raised in a German Protestant church but feels blessed to have been spiritually awakened when she was introduced to CedarCreek Church. She thanks God every day for all the blessings in her life, including two amazing daughters and a wonderful man whom she loves and whom she wants to serve the Lord with.
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