Strength is for Service, Not Status

A week ago Wednesday, Pastor Monte Knudsen taught us how to bless people. You listen to them. When God gives an opportunity, ask if you can pray for them. Then take their hand or touch their shoulder, and ask God to bless them. Pray over any needs they share with you.

Last Wednesday, Pastor Monte asked if we obeyed. Several shared their stories. (My favorite was Simon who said, “A guy sneezed and I said, ‘God bless you!’ “)

I refused to make eye contact with Pastor because I failed the assignment. (I prayed with Derek when he was sick and my sister during a rough day. But I hadn’t blessed someone outside of my family.)

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Yesterday we went shopping for a new dress for our son’s wedding in the fall. I looked at stores in Cedar Rapids without success. On the way home, we stopped at Dillard’s in Iowa City.

I pulled every navy blue dress in my size off of the racks. I tried a couple on and realized – I’m no longer that size. *Sigh*

I asked David to bring me a larger size. He saw one dress he thought would look nice on me and brought it.

When I put it on, I realized something was wrong. The side zipper was open across my torso.

It was a “form-fitting” dress with only half of the material covering my form! I wriggled and rolled the material up trying to get it off. The chiffon cape covered my head and I couldn’t see to get out of it!

When I was finally free, I looked at the size – “6!” The only place it fit was around my neck! (In his defense, the number on the hanger was correct.)

We narrowed it down to two dresses. The one he liked was all lace. I pointed out it would require an expensive undergarment. The one I liked covered everything from my neck to my knees! But, it made me feel young and pretty.

During this process, David visited with my saleslady. She ended up with a pile of dresses in 4 different sizes to put away!

David kept talking to her after we checked out. (She’s my mother’s age, so I didn’t feel jealous.) She shared that she was still working because she couldn’t live on social security. She was alone and had arthritis.

He asked her if she went to church. She replied she was Catholic. I exclaimed, “Wonderful!” because we both serve Jesus. Then he asked her if he could pray for her.

She said yes and we had a holy moment in the middle of Dillard’s! (The store was empty because it was a gorgeous day. Everyone was out enjoying nature, not shopping.)

It may surprise you that we didn’t try to convert her. But that is not our job. We are to love her and share in her burdens.

Romans 14:1, “Welcome with open arms fellow believers who don’t see things the way you do. And don’t jump all over them every time they do or say something you don’t agree with – even when it seems that they are strong on opinions but weak in the faith department. Remember, they have their own history to deal with. Treat them gently.” The Message

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Romans 14:4, “…If there are corrections to be made or manners to be learned, God can handle that without your help.” The Message

During Paul’s time, the controversy was over eating meat offered to idols. Some ate only vegetables just in case the meat was offered to an idol.

Romans 14:6-7, “What’s important in all this is that if you keep a holy day, keep it for God’s sake; if you eat meat, eat it to the glory of God and thank God for prime rib; if you’re a vegetarian, eat vegetables to the glory of God and thank God for broccoli. (7) None of us are permitted to insist on our own way in these matters.” The Message

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Romans 14:17-18, “God’s kingdom isn’t a matter of what you put in your stomach, for goodness sake. It’s what God does with your life as He sets it right, puts it together, and completes it with joy. (18) Your task is to single-mindedly serve Christ. …” The Message

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Romans 15:1-3, “Those of us who are strong and able in the faith need to step in and lend a hand to those who falter, and not just do what is most convenient for us. Strength is for service, not status. (2) Each one of us needs to look after the good of the people around us, asking ourselves, ‘How can I help?’ (3) That’s exactly what Jesus did. He didn’t make it easy for himself by avoiding people’s troubles, but waded right in and helped out.” The Message

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