A Cart Full of Blessings

Sometimes I grocery shop at a store that keeps it carts chained together. To retrieve a cart, I insert a quarter into a slot that releases a cart. When returning the cart and attaching it to the cart corral, a quarter is released.

Recently as I headed to the carts, a gentleman gave me his unchained cart. I offered him my quarter but he said it had been passed on to him and he wanted to do the same. I responded that I would follow his example. I thanked him for the cart and told him he was a blessing.

As I wheeled the cart up and down the grocery aisles, I thanked the Lord for the cart I had received. I also asked God to help me extend this cart to the right person. I prayed that God would bless my cart – and the next recipient.

When I concluded my shopping, I offered my cart to a lady. She thanked me and said she would pass it on to another person. I do not know what happened next.

Later, I reflected upon this encounter. God showed me something supernatural through this natural experience.

As I thought about the shopping cart corral, I realized that the locked carts could symbolize people in bondage. They were all locked up! A cart could only be set free when someone inserted a quarter in the little lock box. The Lord’s says in Jeremiah 40:4, “But now, behold, I am freeing you today from the chains which are on your hands.”

Our lives are of greater value than shopping carts. Jesus paid the price for our freedom.
I Corinthians 6:20 NLT says, “God bought you with a high price.” And Titus 2:14 NLT says,He gave His life to free us from every kind of sin, to cleanse us, and to make us His very own people.We are not required to stay chained up like carts.

Jesus paid the price of His life – much more than a quarter. If I had not been given a cart, I would have only paid twenty-five cents to receive one. And then, I would have gotten my quarter back when I returned the cart. Jesus does not take back His payment. According to John 8:36, “If the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed.” He paid the price. The debt is canceled. Jesus will never return us to bondage.

At the beginning of the day, all the grocery carts were chained together. Because of one person’s generosity of a quarter, a chain reaction began. One person gave away one cart. By day’s end, numerous people had received a free cart.

God also gave. According to John 3:16, “God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” He still offers this gift of eternal life to anyone who will receive it. People did not reject a free grocery cart. How much more valuable is the gift God is extending?

I had the privilege of being part of a chain reaction that offered a free grocery cart to other shoppers. As Christians, we have the privilege of participating in a chain reaction that offers freedom from sin to those chained to the bondage of sin.

My Reader, do you desire to be set free? Ask Jesus into your heart and He will set you free.
II Corinthians 3:17 says,Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.

If you are already free, I encourage you to be a part of the chain reaction passing along this freedom to those who are still in chains. Follow the command of Jesus stated in Mark 16:15, Go into all the world and preach the gospel to all creation.

 

 

 

 

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Mercy Drops

I woke up this morning having an old-fashioned hymn fest with the Lord. The first song in my heart was There Shall Be Showers of Blessing  by Daniel W. Whittle. The words of the chorus are:

Showers of blessing,
Showers of blessing we need;
Mercy drops ‘round us are falling,
But for the showers we plead.

Our summer has been very dry and we need rain. We want rain showers – not just a few sprinkles. However, when we get only a few raindrops, I visualize the blades of grass lifting their thirsty heads and licking each little moisture droplet possible.

We have a similar spiritual desire. We want all the big blessings that the Lord can provide. This is not wrong, but we also need to be thankful for the mercy He drops into our lives. Don’t wait for the big spiritual rains. Receive the mercy drops with thanksgiving. In time, droplets become showers. A rain often begins with a few sprinkles that evolve into more abundant showers. Let us drink deeply the mercy drops the Lord extends. Great things have small beginnings.

My thankfulness for the mercy drops, brought another hymn to mind, The Steadfast Love of the Lord Never Ceases by Edith McNeill. The refrain proclaims:

The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases.
Your mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning,
new every morning:
great is your faithfulness, O Lord,
great is your faithfulness!

I love this promise! God’s mercy drops will never cease to rain down on our lives. No wonder I woke up singing about His mercy! Our God is faithful to provide what we need to accomplish His plans and purposes for us each day.

Although nature’s cycles of rain and drought come and go, we can always depend upon God to provide the spiritual moisture we need to grow in Him. Sometimes His provision comes in droplets of mercy and other times our souls are flooded with abundant blessings.

Receive the following mercy drops found in God’s Word.

The LORD is merciful and gracious,
slow to anger, and abundant in mercy.
Psalm 103:8 NKJV

Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed.
Because His compassions fail not.
They are new every morning;
Great is Your faithfulness.
Lamentations 3:22-23

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ!
In His great mercy He has given us new birth into a living hope
through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,
I Peter 1:3

Let us then approach God’s throne of grace with confidence
, so that we may receive mercy and find grace
to help us in our time of need.
Hebrews 4:16

His mercy extends to those who fear Him,
from generation to generation.
Luke 1:50

Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.
Matthew 5:6 NKJV

O give thanks unto the LORD, for He is good;
for His mercy endures for ever.
Psalm 136:1

Mercy, peace and love be yours in abundance.
Jude 1:2

Blessings for Mom

flower-in-handMay each mother reach out to receive her blessing from the Lord.
Happy Mother’s Day! 

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pink-flowerBlessed are you among women,
and blessed is the child you will bear!
Luke 1:42

Elizabeth spoke this blessing over Mary shortly after Mary found out that she was pregnant with the son of God. In observance of Mother’s Day this Sunday, I choose to speak this blessing upon all mothers who may read this blog. Yes, there was a special blessing placed upon Mary because she was chosen by God to be the mother of His son. However, I also want you, as a mom, to realize this blessing is for you because God chose you to be the mother of the children He has given to you.

At the same time, being blessed as a mom does not guarantee that it will be easy. Being a mother is one of the most difficult tasks a woman will ever undertake, yet it is a position for which she is probably least prepared. There is no Mothering for Dummies book available. Neither is there a mom shaped cookie cutter. A mother needs to uniquely love and nurture each of her children according to his or her personality. Having said this, I still see Mary, the mother of Jesus, as a good role model for motherhood today. Mary was blessed and all moms can be blessed while fulfilling their motherhood responsibilities. Let us look at the example Mary sets for moms.


pink-flower... she (Mary) gave birth to her firstborn, a son.
She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger,
because there was no guest room available for them.
Luke 2:6-7

Mary cared for the physical needs of Jesus as a baby. We must care for the physical needs of our children.8606715653_3761c12e53_b

pink-flowerWhen the time came for the purification rites required
by the Law of Moses, Joseph and Mary took him
to Jerusalem to present him to the Lord.
Luke 2:22

Both Mary and Joseph took their newborn son to the temple to be dedicated as required by the Jewish Law. We, too, should assume the responsibility of dedicating our children to God. For some, this may involve infant baptism while for others it may be a dedication service.

pink-flowerAnd Jesus grew in wisdom and stature,
and in favor with God and man.
Luke 2:52

Mary provided opportunities for Jesus to grow educationally, physically, spiritually and socially. Today, we as moms still need to help our children mature in all of these areas.

pink-flower

His mother (Mary) said to the servants,
“Whatever He says to you, do it.”
John 2:5

This verse of scripture is taken from the account of Jesus’ first miracle of turning water into wine at the wedding in Cana. Mary knew it was time for Jesus to begin His public ministry and she encouraged Him to do so. I believe Mary set an example for us to encourage our children to become the men and women God created them to be. There comes a time for us to “untie the apron strings” and acknowledge our children as responsible adults.

pink-flower

Someone said to Him (Jesus), “Behold, Your mother
and Your brothers are standing outside
seeking to speak to You.”
Matthew 12:47

Although Jesus was a grown man with His own ministry, Mary continued to follow Him and care about Him. Once a mom, always a mom! Our children never outgrow their need for our prayers, love and interest in their lives.

pink-flower

But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother
John 19:25

Probably the most difficult task for Mary as the mother of Jesus was watching Him die. I hope I do not have to full this role as a mother. However, I do not think there is a mother who would not stand by the side of a dying son or daughter.


pink-flower

When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple
whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His
mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He
said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From
that hour the disciple took her into his own
household.
John 19:26-27

While her son was dying on the cross for the sins of the world, I believe Mary was blessed. These words record how Jesus handed over the responsibility of  caring for His mother to John. Mary had successfully fulfilled her responsibility as His mother and Jesus wanted her to be cared for the remainder of her life. What a blessing to have so successfully nurtured her son that, even though He was in extreme pain, He remembered her. He loved her!

pink-flower

Her children arise and call her blessed;
her husband also, and he praises her:
Proverbs 31:28

Mothers, your role is not easy but it is fulfilling. Mary received a blessing from her son. May your children bestow upon you the blessing promised in Proverbs 31 this Mother’s Day!

Joyfully,
Cheryl
gold apple new