• Tonie Roberts

It’s easy to look at the impact other Christians are making in the world and wonder whether our small acts of service and love are really making a difference. A recent encounter reminded me not to be overly concerned about the masses, when I have the power of touching one life at a time.

After work, I stopped by one of my favorite restaurants to pick up a meal. I wasn’t feeling as well as I’d like that day and casually greeted the cashier as I paid. Usually, I try to express genuine interest in the people I encounter, but I just wasn’t up to it.

The cashier’s face lit up when she recognized me. Her warm greeting reminded me of the need to check out of my feelings and focus upon the given opportunity to be a blessing.

The Bible records several stories of Jesus’ one on one encounters. Though He spoke to the masses, He literally took time out to hear and speak with people, making each encounter important.

Jesus illustrates the power of one in Matthew 18: 12-14 - 12 “What do you think? If any man has a hundred sheep, and one of them has gone astray, does he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go and search for the one that is straying? 13 If it turns out that he finds it, truly I say to you, he rejoices over it more than over the ninety-nine which have not gone astray. 14 So it is not the will of your Father who is in heaven that one of these little ones perish.

Can you hear Jesus saying to His followers today - What about the person I sent your way who needed an ear, but all you could think about was you? What about the one I sent your way for an answer that you didn’t bother to give because you thought they wouldn’t listen. Be alert for the possibilities of miracles that I desire to do through you one person at a time.

As ambassadors for Christ, daily we are presented with opportunities to make a difference in the lives of the people we encounter. Don’t take those moments for granted. Instead, sharpen your spiritual antennas through prayer, the Bible, and through praise/worship and watch out. Be ready to make a difference, one person at a time.

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  • Tonie Roberts

Valentine's Day...

hearts, cupid, blown kisses, chocolate, flowers, couples holding hands, romantic dinners,

These are the images that come to mind because society has imposed them on us. These days, even as early as the day after New Year's stores are decorated and filled with pink and red hearts of every size. But has Valentine's day ever brought images to your mind of a man or woman sitting at home alone eating dinner in front of the TV?

Do you ever think about the divorced or widowed man or woman who doesn't receive flowers or candy on Valentine's day anymore because their spouse is gone? Have you ever thought to send a Valentine's day card to the single person who prays each morning that this may be the day Mr. or Mrs.

walks right into their life?

And what about the man or woman who has made the choice to remain single in order to serve God better? - don't all of them still deserve love and affection on Valentine's day and every day?

Valentine's day is just one day, but ironically and unfortunately, it is a day on which many feel anything but love. Valentine's day isn't just for couples. Valentine's day is for everyone. Love is for everyone. "For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son" [John 3:16].

God loves us all, and so we must love everyone as well.

Jesus tells us in 1 Corinthians 13:13 that "the greatest of these is love". Matthew 22:39 reminds us to "love your neighbor as yourself". So why is it so difficult to love one another sometimes? After all, doesn't love conquer all, as we are reminded in 1 Peter 4:8, that we are to "love each other deeply because love covers over a multitude of sins"?

1 Corinthians 13:4 says that "love is kind". On Valentine's day and every day, be kind to one another - to everyone - not just those you love or who love you back. That's easy! But when you love and are kind to those who don't always reciprocate, now that's demonstrating the love that Jesus asks of us in Luke 6:32, "for if you love those who love you, then what credit is that to you?" It isn't even as difficult as you may think, because if you love Jesus, then you have the Spirit in you, and "the fruit of the Spirit is love" [Galatians 5:22].

Like most people, I too, am guilty of selecting the only the ones I love from a box of Valentines chocolates. Long after the holiday those few pieces are left in the box,

sitting there, waiting for someone to love them too.

This Valentine’s day, "let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds" [Hebrews 10:24]. This Valentine’s day pick that chocolate no one loves, give it a taste, and see if you can find something about it to love. In the same manner, connect with that "unloved" person and consider how you can love them, the way Jesus loves you.

Happy Valentine’s Day!

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  • Tonie Roberts

Some may say that clouds are depressing or unsettling. I find clouds to be comforting and peaceful. As my friend and I drove home from Sunday church service, there were clouds in the sky and it was raining. She and I noticed a couple holding each other, covering themselves with an umbrella as they stood on the boardwalk. I thought to myself how beautiful. I felt such a peace and the Lord’s presence.

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. “— John 14:27 NIV

“In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”— John 16:33 NIV

I’m so grateful that even though we sometimes are surrounded by clouds, God is always in the midst of them. He holds us tightly, covering us from pending storms. And in those clouds, you see a rainbow appear. There’s a quietness and stillness that’s comforting in knowing that God is with us.

Matthew 8:23-26.

23 Then he got into the boat and his disciples followed him. 24 Suddenly a furious storm came up on the lake, so that the waves swept over the boat. But Jesus was sleeping. 25 The disciples went and woke him, saying, “Lord, save us! We’re going to drown!”

26 He replied, “You of little faith, why are you so afraid?” Then he got up and rebuked the winds and the waves, and it was completely calm.

In Isaiah 4:6, the Lord provides a canopy:

“It will be a shelter and shade from the heat of the day and a refuge and hiding place from the storm and rain. “

God is so with us, I marvel of what He has done and is doing:

In Genesis 9:12-17 God says to Noah:

12 And God said, “This is the sign of the covenant I am making between me and you and every living creature with you, a covenant for all generations to come: 13 I have set my rainbow in the clouds, and it will be the sign of the covenant between me and the earth. 14 Whenever I bring clouds over the earth and the rainbow appears in the clouds, 15 I will remember my covenant between me and you and all living creatures of every kind. Never again will the waters become a flood to destroy all life. 16 Whenever the rainbow appears in the clouds, I will see it and remember the everlasting covenant between God and all living creatures of every kind on the earth.”17 So God said to Noah, “This is the sign of the covenant I have established between me and all life on the earth.”

Wow! God’s covenant to Noah is for all generations and that means, it's for us today. What a loving God! So when you look up and there are clouds above, remember that God will cover you and embrace you in the storm. And, you may even get to see His rainbow. He is such a good, good Father, thank you Jesus.

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