Welcome to the Kingdom of God!

February 23rd, 2008 • Category: Encouragement
by Steve Adams

Today’s scripture: Matthew 5:1-10, Philippians 2:14,15 (NRSV) (The Message)

As you read, consider: What might God be saying to me? Summarize your thoughts in a sentence or two before reading on.

My thoughts:

I always looked forward to the Saturdays I’d go to Pat’s apartment to clean for her. She had severe, life-threatening heart and lung problems, along with other ailments that often prevented her from getting a good night’s rest. Even though her apartment complex was in a nice neighborhood, it had fallen into a state of filthy disrepair. The entry hall leading to her door was so dirty the carpet was mostly black, even though it had originally been green, and was usually littered with paper and other trash.

Inside her door was a completely different world, though. A loving, healing atmosphere greeted me as soon as I walked in. Pat would usually be sitting on her sofa, truly enjoying the day. Unusual, healing scents such as jasmine or eucalyptus rose from small fountains which emanated the soothing sound of gently flowing water. Her apartment was a place where God ruled. She was always interested in how I was doing, which caused me to enjoy sharing what was going on in my life. Likewise, I always wanted to know how she was doing, and hear her tell me about the latest, often new and unusual, thing she had discovered.

The best part was talking to her while I cleaned. We would spontaneously get into Christian conversations about the challenges and beauty of life. Pat didn’t spend much time even mentioning the deplorable conditions outside her door, because she couldn’t control that. She focused on the things she could control, with help from her Lord Jesus Christ. In the mornings, while she was still in bed, Pat would raise her arms in praise to God and say, “I love you; I thank you; I praise you!” She amazingly held onto that attitude throughout the day, despite the pain and suffering her illnesses caused.

I’m sure Pat was often deeply dissatisfied with her health and her apartment building. However, she didn’t allow grief and regret to pull her down. Instead, she was able to respond to disappointment with increased motivation to make her life more godly. This freed her mind to be open to what God wanted to tell her, and it was amazing to see the fresh and resourceful ideas she would come up with that made her life fun. And, she would always credit God’s goodness and love as the origin of her new-found blessings. The bottom line was she knew God would deliver her from what seemed hopeless circumstances, either in this life or the next.

Thank you, Lord, for my friend, Pat. Even though she isn’t here anymore to brighten up the world, I thank you she is one of your shining lights in Heaven, giving testimony to your goodness and glory.

Thought for the day: Who do you remember who brought Jesus alive to you? Take a few minutes to remember, and thank God for them.

We encourage you to include a time of prayer with this reading. Use the item above as a starting point, or consider the guidelines on the How to Pray page.

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