Angels around us

For it is written, He shall give his angels charge over thee, to keep thee:
Luke 4:10

My wife and I enjoy going to the Illinois Indian Powwow held annually in a nearby park. Last year our granddaughter joined us. She and Grandma spent over an hour at the craft tent creating a beautiful beaded hair clip with a feather on the end.

One Saturday not too long ago my wife and I made plans to take our grandaughter birthday shopping. So we picked up B from her parents and off we went with B wearing her beaded hair clip.

After looking at toys, clothes and more it was time to check out. My wife took our purchases to the checkout line while B and I went to get a frozen drink. We met beside the store’s northern exit after Grandma had paid for the presents  and walked outside with B carrying her drink, my wife carrying B and me carrying our purchases.

“Where is my hair clip?” asked B.

My wife asked her if she remembered where she had left it.

“I hung it on the cart” replied B.

“Oh I’m sorry”, my wife said, “lets go see if we can find it”.

So we went back into the store, searched all the carts but the beaded hair clip was nowhere to be found. We promised our granddaughter we would go to the Powwow again this year and she could make another hairclip. A little sadder than before we left the store, again by the north exit and started walking back to our car.

We were just steps from the southern entrance when I noticed a shopping cart someone had left beside the door. Suddenly a gust of wind pushed the shopping cart past us, towards the roadway and into the incoming traffic. Instinctively I jumped out, grabbed the cart and pulled it back on the sidewalk.

Not wanting to leave the cart on the sidewalk I pushed it inside the large double doors to where the carts are normally stored. My wife looked around and exclaimed, “I don’t know what I was thinking, I didn’t leave the cart at the other entrance, I left it here”. Once again we searched the shopping carts for B’s hair clip. And again we didn’t find it.

As we were preparing to leave a store employee asked, “Are you looking for a beaded hair clip with a feather on the end?”

For the second time in the last five minutes an angel had spoken to us.

“Oh yes”, said my wife, “Have you seen it?”

“It was hanging on the side of a cart”, the angel replied. “It looked too nice to just leave there so I took it to the lost and found”. We thanked her and went to retrieve B’s beaded hair clip from the lost and found. On the way B turned to Grandma and said. “I think an angel pushed that cart in front of Grandpa so we would come in here and find my hair clip”.

“I agree”, Grandma replied. “Angels look after us in all things”.

Both my granddaughter and my wife have a much stronger faith than I. B’s faith is that of the simple innocence of a child, my wife is grounded in the years experiencing His grace. It seems most of my life is spent going through the motions waiting for a grand gesture from God. I fear there are many like me; we keep looking for God to sweep us off our feet and miss His gentle tap on our shoulder.

I know the old saying goes, ‘the devil is in the details’ but I believe God is in the details. It’s not always the big things; God may not cure cancer despite our fervent prayers, countries still go to war and people continue to hurt themselves and others. More often than we realize, however, God will touch our lives in small yet very significant ways.

Perhaps it is a shopping cart blown into our path leading us to a store employee  angel who directs us to where we can find a lost object so a child can point us to the truth – Angels look after us in all things. A sequence of events that helps us realize God does work in our lives. We just need to listen.

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the LORD. And, behold, the LORD passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the LORD; but the LORD was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the LORD was not in the earthquake:

And after the earthquake a fire; but the LORD was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.
I Kings 19:11-12

Love your enemies – Matthew 5:43-45

“Ye have heard that it hath been said, Thou shalt love thy neighbour, and hate thine enemy. But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; That ye may be the children of your Father which is in heaven: for he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust.”
(Matthew 5:43-45, KJV)

Most Americans remember the events of September 11th, 2001 as a time of sadness and mourning. But there was also anger, fear and even hate. Powerful emotions which were directed at the enemy, an enemy most of didn’t even know.

So our President, George W. Bush, mobilized the strongest military in the world, invaded Afghanistan and defeated the Taliban. Since then Four thousand eight hundred and sixty five American soldiers have died while Afghanistan and Iraqi casualties vary from one hundred fifty thousand to nearly a million depending upon your source.

A lot of people have died because our President, our government and many of our citizens either failed to read or chose to ignore Matthew 5:43-45.

But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;

According to the Center for Defense Information, the estimated cost of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan will reach $864 billion by the end of fiscal year 2009. It cost around 40 billion dollars to remove the Taliban from power. What if we had used the remaining 820 billion to rebuild Afghanistans infrastructure, educate the citizens, create jobs and help the citizens build a working democracy?

Yes, I have read Matthew 7:6 where Jesus says, “Do not give dogs what is sacred; do not throw your pearls to pigs. If you do, they may trample them under their feet, and then turn and tear you to pieces.”

That verse is directed at the Pharisees and priests, the ones who believed they were the sole purveyors of the truth of God. It is a warning to be wary of those who would encourage us to do things in the name of God that are contrary to the will of God. No earthly person or power deserves blind obedience.

Governments have a responsibility to enforce justice, not exact revenge.  However, when Jesus said, “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;”,  He wasn’t making a political statement. He was talking to each of us as individuals, explaining how we can be better people.

He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now. He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
(1 John 2:9-10 NKJV)

The best view of God is through His children.  Even if someone is not aware of God,  God is still aware of them.  And then so should we be. Only when we are able to see past our hatreds, fear and jealousy can we walk in the light and understand the richness of life.

Did you know?

“God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible. Instead it says, My help comes from the Lord, who made heaven and earth. Psalm 121:2.


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Thought for the day

If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple.

But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas. - George Bernard Shaw


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