Monday, November 19, 2012

There God Commands His Blessing

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

Psalm 133, “this is where the Lord commands His blessing and life forever more.”

The Bear Brawl Debate Tournament
I saw something this weekend while helping about 15 hours Friday and Saturday at a Debate Tournament my boys were involved in. I had gone to the parents judges training meeting in the morning. I've judged before but I wanted to show parent support for the training and it never hurts to get a refresher because I am still a novice judge. During the meeting the teacher and coach for the team expressed how discouraged he was in the last couple of months. There have been lots of laws that have changed that complicate his job as a teacher. Even good changes bring with them the stress of getting used to doing things a new way. He's been a teacher for a long time and knows getting parent help is always an up hill battle but this year with all the changes and a father figure in his life being sick and dying caused there to be a cloud of discouragement that he was struggling to shake. I had planed to be a judge just on Friday in my effort to slow down. There were two other parents who were able to help here and there during the tournament but this teacher was pretty much there the rest of the time alone with 18 of our kids and about three hundred other teen debaters. I felt led to offer to help on Saturday after I got done with my morning music lessons.
So it has been a very long weekend and today (Sunday) I am running the kitchen for our homeless meal that will feed about 150 - 200 people.

What I wanted to bring out was that Saturday morning I got up like I usually do but my head was filled with an elaborate idea of how to create a student lead debate team. So I wrote it down, printed it and stuck it in my purse to give to the Debate Teacher /Coach. I spend a lot of my time working with the church and I expect God to bless his church. What I realized this weekend is that God's hand of blessing is on me as his child. His blessing goes where I go. Most of the time I am in Christian settings and I can't see my individual effect of a carrier and courier of his presence and blessing. This weekend I found myself in a place with good but non believing people and they were struggling. I saw an opportunity to begin loving them till they ask why. My kids have been involved in this program for the past two years and will potentially be involved in it another six years.

So I saw something happen. On Saturday, I shared my idea with the other involved parent and with the coach. Both lit up with excitement. The coach said "this is the first time in weeks that I have hope." He had previously talked about not taking the team to the next tournament because of his sick and dying loved one. But later in the day shared with me how he was ok and glad he had gone to see him a few weeks ago and now felt he did not need to be there after he died. I think he was relieved to have been able to talk to someone and express his pain, and sorrow over the situation of his loved ones illness that causes the physical heart to harden.  Today I was thinking how the word says what ever we bind on earth will be bound and what ever we loose will be loosed. So I prayed for this man and asked God to bind this disease that has caused this mans heart to harden. I have asked that God would loose or release his healing presence into this mans life. That He would begin to reverse the hardening process. I ask myself if I believe that my prayers make a difference. I do. The Lord allowed me to see this hopeless situation. I may be the only believer praying for them. They may never know that I prayed. I don't know this man and will likely never even meet him. I do know the coach who cares about him like he was his own father. He shared when he went to visit that this sick man was all about caring for him. Encouraging him about his teaching and listening with great interest to the things that this teacher had going on in his life.  When I left Saturday evening the coach came and shook my hand and said, "thank you I will sleep tonight for the first time in a long time."

I was able to step into this situation because I have settled myself down and waited for God to direct me. I was not too busy to step into this situation this weekend. I got to see the Lord use me in a might way among good but unbelieving people. While I sat at the group table being a kid wrangler I completed a printable document for the idea that I shared. I'm good at that kind of thing and had time to kill. The coach asked me to send e-mail both documents to him and he will work on finalizing them today to present to the class on Tuesday and the idea will go into effect immediately. I realize that God has given me entrance into the life of this coach and these parents and students. I had the gift of time to give and it made a way for me in this situation. I had the gift of wisdom to give and I was able to roll out a plan like Joseph did to Pharaoh. Suddenly I will become a parent advisor to the team and I will bring the tangible effects of God's love into a place where it was not formerly.

The verse I used today from Psalm 133 is in effect because I brought unity into this situation. When I align myself as a believer with others - it is there that God commands His blessing. As a believer I am supposed to be salt, a preserving agent in the world. I am supposed to be light to bring hope, wisdom, insight and and direction. You and I are ambassadors of the King of kings. We don't have to preach at people. We need to love them till they ask us why? When they ask they are ready to hear. When that opportunity comes we are told to be ready to share why we have this great hope. 1 Peter 3:15 But in your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. "Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect"

Prayer: Help us to see how our presence brings your blessing into the places we go. Help us to not be so concerned with our own struggles that we miss what you are doing all around us. Help us to love the people around us till they ask why. Help us to be ready to tell them how you are the best decision we ever made.

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