He's used time in His Word to renew my mind. He's used messages from my pastor to convict and teach. He's worked through people - prayers, encouraging words, wisdom and listening ears. All of this plays a part in who I am and what God has done. I'm so thankful for each and everyone who's helped along the way.
Tonight the Lord brought to mind a post from a couple of years ago. Before you read it below, I want to encourage you with a truth that's been on my heart: "And I am sure of this, that He who began a good work in you will bring it to completion at the day of Jesus Christ." Philippians 1:6 Friend, no matter where you are at or what your life looks like, God is still at work. Seek Him, Trust Him and Obey Him. His work doesn't always follow our schedule, but it is part of His perfect plan.
As He works in you, may you allow Him to work through you. The things you say and do make an impact. Do your best to be a part of someone else's story!
The Ripple Effect (April 17, 2016)
Spring has finally arrived here in Iowa, which means life is busy on the farm. Today in between feeding my farmers and helping clean up some oats, the kids and I took time to do one of their favorite things. We walked down to the neighbor's quarry and threw rocks. We've been doing this for years and though I no longer push a stroller, God continues to teach me a lesson.
One thing that continues to strike me as I enjoy the view and slice of solitude is the ripple that's always created when the kids throw rocks. No rock enters the water without making a difference. Few rocks leave a single impact on the water. Most of them create a ripple in the water that continues to spread long after the rock pierces the surface.
Today as my kids enjoyed this activity for the first time in months, my mind went to work thinking about something God has had on my heart. I too am leaving a mark...granted I'm not throwing rocks to do it, but I am using words and my actions to make a difference. The question is: Is it one for good or not?
Friend, join me in thinking about the words that left your mouth today. Did they encourage, uplift and equip? Or were they filled with anger and pierced the heart? Our words impact the one we are speaking to, but they affect others as well - the people who over hear our conversation and those who come in contact with the one we impacted. Just like the rocks my kids throw create ripples in the water, our words do the same in the hearts of those we love.
Do you want that impact to be positive for those you love and glorifying to the God we serve? If so, scripture has some wisdom for us -
"Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen." (Ephesians 4:29)
"Words from the mouth of the wise are gracious, but fools are consumed by their own lips." (Ecclesiastes 10:12)
"Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone." (Colossians 4:6)
There's much more to say about our words and the power of the tongue, but let's also think about our actions a bit. Think about the things you do, the attitude you have and body language you use. What kind of impact does this have on the people around you? I know it doesn't take long to read that question, so I encourage you to stop for a minute and really think about it. How would your husband or children answer that question? Or your co-workers or church family?
Friend, I know it's possible for Satan to use this to condemn you, but I pray that won't happen. Instead if it's necessary I'm asking God to use it to convict you. Allow Him to examine your heart and if needed let Him show you how your actions aren't leaving the mark you want. God created each of us for His glory and to do good. This is no easy task, but with God's leading and the Spirit's filling it is possible.
Colossians 3:17 pretty much sums it up - "And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him."
As I watched my little guys, I realized they didn't have to do much to create a ripple effect. They simply had to pick up the rocks and throw them. Friend, we don't have to complicate this process either. Let's allow God to fill us up by spending time with Him in His Word and through prayer and then let Him pour us out.
This sounds simple and easy on paper, but I know it's work. It takes time, effort and self-control. But you know what? If we don't practice this before we throw the rock, so to speak, it will take more time, effort and self-control to fix the mess we create. Because the truth is we are always creating a ripple effect! We might as well make it one we're proud of and God is pleased with!
It was quite fitting tonight to read the following post when I checked Facebook. A friend had shared these words with a mutual friend - "So thankful for you and for how you change my world constantly and consistently by pointing me to Jesus!" Followed by this quote, "You get to change the world every time you change someone's day." Friends, that's a glimpse of a positive ripple effect. The things we do and say - they matter. It doesn't matter if they are BIG or little things, but instead it's the heart they are said and done with and the One they point to. Want to change the world? Start by changing someone's day!
I want to close with a song that God periodically brings back to me...John Waller's, "Somebody Else's Story". I encourage you to think about the words he sings, they tie right in with the ripple effect.
Do you want to be a part of somebody else's story? Do you want to be the one who shines the light of Jesus? I know that can be hard and scary, but think about it this way - Who has played a part in your story? Who's ripple has impacted you in a positive way? Aren't you grateful for them? Let their ripple continue as you impact another!!
Friend, I don't know if we've met face to face or not, but God has connected hearts here and I'm grateful for you!! I appreciate YOU, your encouragement and friendship! I'm thankful YOU are part of my story and I pray 1 Thessalonians 5:11 continues to be true in your life and mine - "Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing."
Dear Heavenly Father, in the same way the water ripples, I pray my actions and words will positively impact others. Thank you for the reminder that what I do matters and always impacts others, I desire for that to be a difference that matters for eternity. Use me Lord in another's story...may I point others to You and may they in turn do the same. It doesn't take a big rock to make a splash, which reminds me it doesn't take a famous speaker or powerful pastor to impact Your kingdom. So Father God I ask You to fill me up so You can pour me out. Help me create a ripple for You today. In the precious and powerful name of Jesus I pray...Amen