Breathtaking Climb to the Top

by Melissa Henderson

The appointment with my new spine doctor had been scheduled the previous day. Arriving at the building, I noticed an elevator and stairs to reach the office on the third floor. Choosing to take a healthier option, I walked to the stairs and began the climb. I was proud of myself for making a good decision for my body and heart.

As I was already running behind for the appointment, I picked up the pace and climbed the stairs a bit quicker than usual. First flight of steps, then, the second, and finally the third. By the time I reached the door to the medical office, I was out of breath. A thin layer of sweat formed on my forehead.

Trying to gain my composure and hopefully, not breathing too heavily, I approached the check-in counter. A lady behind the plexiglass asked for my name and insurance information. My mind was racing. Heart pounding, breathing in and out quickly, I tried to calm myself and provide the items requested.

All was good. Check in complete. Finding a seat in the waiting room, I began taking deep breaths in and out in hopes of relaxing. I prayed and asked God to calm my mind and body.

Only a few moments until a door opened and my name was called.

“Let’s take your blood pressure first.” The friendly nurse pointed to a chair where I could sit.

The blood pressure cuff was placed on my arm. In a short time, the nurse asked, “Are you okay? Your numbers are high today. Are you on any blood pressure medications?”

My response began with a laugh. “No. My pressure is always great. But, I must share that I just walked up those three flights of stairs.” We both laughed and agreed the pressure numbers were most likely due to my climb. The nurse suggested we try again after the visit with the doctor.

Sitting in the room, I began reflecting on my breathtaking exertion. I had put my heart into each step in anticipation of reaching the top.

How often do I put that kind of energy and dedication into sharing the love of Christ? Have there been opportunities to share the good news with joy, stopped by my decision to wait until another time? Have I ever been so enthusiastic that my breathing became rapid with excitement and my heart raced with anticipation of sharing His love? Have there been moments when I couldn’t get His message out fast enough?

Today and every day, I want to be ready to share the love of Christ. In Acts, just as Jesus was about to ascend up to heaven, He gave the apostles their assignment: “…You shall be my witnesses both in Jerusalem and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth” (Acts 1:8b NASB). A witness is someone that has personally experienced something. All we need to do is tell what Jesus has personally done for us. Accepted us just as we were. Paid for our sin with His life. All an expression of His great love. All done in grace.

What might feel awkward to us may just change the course of someone’s life.

The next time I visit that doctor’s office, I plan to climb the stairs again, only maybe a little slower. I will be ready to share the love of Christ no matter where I go.

“The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life.” Job 33:4 NIV

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Melissa Henderson
Licky the Lizard by [Melissa Henderson, Mark Brayer]

About the author: Award-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers. Melissa is the author of Licky the Lizard and Grumpy the Gator. Her passions are helping in community and church. Melissa is an Elder, Deacon and Stephen Minister. Follow Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and at http://www.melissaghenderson.com

Join the conversation: What motivates you to share the good news about Jesus?

Running to Love

by Melissa Henderson

But you, Lord, are a compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in love and faithfulness. Psalm 86:15 NIV

I witnessed a precious sight today. Three-year-old grandson Rowan had come for a visit. His mother, father, and six-month-old baby sister Eden came to the house, too. We enjoyed a delicious lunch, chatted, laughed, and watched the two little ones interact. The bond between brother and sister is already strong.

There is another special bond in the neighborhood. Rowan has a friend who lives next door to us. She is a very sweet little girl. Three years old and filled with love and laughter. Rowan and this sweet girl often play together, sharing toys and giggles.

The innocence of these children is something we all can learn from. When these two precious friends see each other, they often run toward each other and share a greeting of giggles. Sometimes there are words and other times, the laughter is all that is needed for the connection.

There is no need for explanation of the laughter. A simple smile, a hug, and being together brings joy to them and the adults watching.

I wonder how different the world could be if everyone greeted each other with a smile, a hug or handshake, a “hello”, a listening ear, and a few giggles.

Rowan and his friend are showing examples of how to share God’s love. They don’t realize the importance of their actions. The two friends know they are happy to be together. Their joy comes from simple things in life. Watching bugs crawling across the sidewalk, playing hide and seek, jumping through the water in the sprinkler, and sometimes sitting and chatting in the way only young ones can comprehend.

Each interaction is a picture of how God shows His unconditional love to us. He listens, He hears, He comforts, and He never leaves. With Rowan and his friend, His image can be seen through their listening, hearing, comforting when the other has a hurt. Their relationship stays intact even though the children don’t see each other every day.

There may be times of frustration, when a toy is wanted by the same child. Or times of sadness, when one person has to leave to go home before everyone is finished playing. Yet, even in those times, the friendship and love continue.

The book of Proverbs shares wisdom and instruction for life. Values and compassion can be found in Scripture. When a child is taught to love and show compassion, that child is able to share those special attributes with others.

The Bible shares examples of the love Jesus showed to people of all ages. When I see Rowan and his friend playing, I think of songs sharing how Jesus loves us. Yes, He loves us. This I know.

Have you watched children playing? Did they make you smile? Start off children in the way they should go, and they will not turn from it (Proverbs 22:6 NIV).

This article is brought to you by the Advanced Writers and Speakers Association (AWSA).

Melissa Henderson
Licky the Lizard by [Melissa Henderson, Mark Brayer]

About the author: Award-winning author Melissa Henderson writes inspirational messages laced with a bit of humor. With stories in books, magazines, devotionals and more, Melissa hopes to encourage readers. Melissa is the author of Licky the Lizard and Grumpy the Gator. Her passions are helping in community and church. Melissa is an Elder, Deacon and Stephen Minister. Follow Melissa on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and at http://www.melissaghenderson.com

Join the conversation: How have you trained your children to love?

Bright Light and Covered Eyes

by Melissa Henderson @mimionlife

Mask, gloves, hand sanitizer. Yes, I am prepared to enter the local grocery store.

I have tried my best to follow the current rules and regulations concerning staying safe from the Corona virus. My husband, Alan, and I wash our hands frequently; we don’t touch our faces and wear masks when needing to be in public. Yes, we are rule followers. We want to stay safe and healthy.

A shock came when Alan went for routine testing before a surgery and was told, “Sorry, the surgery has to be postponed. You’ve tested positive for the virus.”

He is one of the people who has no symptoms and he feels great. I immediately called the prayer chain at church. Prayers from family, friends and strangers began and kept going.

Our official quarantine began. We stayed inside, watched more movies, read more books, tried new recipes with food we had delivered from the local grocery store. Hours and days passed. We stepped outside onto the back porch from time to time to watch the wild life in the forest behind the house. Alan and I often remark how blessed we feel to see turkeys, deer, ducks, herons and egrets out back. Even the occasional coyote will quickly pop out of the forest on the journey to find food.

But recently, I noticed something unusual when I opened the back door and stepped outside. My eyes hurt. I instinctively covered my eyes as the bright sunshine was actually causing me pain. I squinted and blinked as my eyes began watering like a bad allergy attack. I tried to stay outside on the back porch, but finally gave up. The sunshine-induced pain would not quit.

Back inside the house, I wondered if other people were experiencing the same trouble. Glancing out of our front window, I saw several friends coming out of their homes. The first thing I noticed was that each person was covering their eyes from the bright sunshine.

One the first day of creation, God created light. He said “Let there be light,” and there was light. He “saw the light was good and He separated it from the darkness” (Genesis 1:2-4 NASB).

Then, many, many years later, God sent a different kind of light to the earth. John wrote: “In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it” (John 1:4-5 NASB). The great light that Jesus shone while on earth had those who preferred the darkness shrinking back into the shadows. But while it illuminated with truth, His was not a harsh light that revealed every flaw and failure. His light was, and still is today, a warm, welcoming glow that beckons us out of the darkness.

We do not need to cover our eyes from His light. The light of the world came to save us.

For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.                              John 3:17 NASB

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Bright Light and Covered Eyes – encouragement from Melissa Henderson, @MiMiOnLife on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

Melissa HendersonAbout the author: Melissa Henderson is a writer of inspirational messages. Her first book for children, Licky the Lizard, was released in 2018. She also has a story in the compilations “Heaven Sightings” and “Remembering Christmas”. She contributes articles and Licky the Lizard by [Melissa Henderson, Mark Brayer]devotions to various magazines and websites. Her passion is in helping her community and church. Melissa is an elder, deacon and Stephen Minister. The family motto is, “It’s Always A Story With The Hendersons”.

Join the conversation: What does Jesus’ being the Light of the World mean to you?

 

 

 

 

Rain from Heaven

by Melissa Henderson @mimionlife

The low country of South Carolina has been receiving “drought condition” alerts for a few weeks. Television and radio forecasters provide hourly, daily, and weekly predictions for weather. Each day, we watch and listen and check our phones with hopes of seeing a forecast of rain. Even a slight drizzle would be nice.

We are not watching for hurricanes this time. We are hoping for rain.

A few times during the day the blue skies have disappeared, and we thought maybe rain was on the way. Not yet. Just a few clouds passing by.

Palm trees which usually have green fronds now have brown tips. The grass is crunchy when we walk across the yard. The pond water is lower than usual. The flowers are thirsty. Water restrictions are in place in some areas.

Prayers are being said across the area, asking God to provide the needed moisture.

Today, my husband and I went to the grocery store. As we left our driveway, I noticed a drop of water on the windshield. I wondered and said out loud. “Is that rain? Could we be getting ready for a shower?”

The excitement of that possibility had us grinning. Maybe, just maybe, rain was coming.

But as we drove through the neighborhood and onto the main street, the rain drops stopped. Oh, well. Perhaps another day. Disappointment took away our smiles.

Rain would be a welcome sight. No floods or dangerous storms, of course. Just a nice slow, long-lasting day of rain would be welcome.

Arriving at the grocery store, my husband parked the car and went inside to make some purchases. I sat in the car and read a book.

Drop. Drop. Drop. Heavy drops of rain began to fall from the sky. I sat watching with eyes wide open, remembering my husband did not have the umbrella with him.

Other people were caught off guard by the rain, too. Men and women sprinted through the parking lot trying to find shelter. I watched as people tried to cover their heads with briefcases, empty grocery bags and their hands. Almost everyone was laughing at the surprise of rain. They were joyful even while being drenched in it.

My husband made his way back to our car. Yes, he was soaked by the rain. We laughed as he sat trying to dry off with one lonely napkin we found in the glove compartment. The rain poured down for another 15 minutes. What a glorious sight and sound!

That wonderful rainfall served as a reminder to us of God’s faithful presence and provision. James wrote that every good gift comes from the Father of Lights (James 1:17). Jeremiah the prophet understood the significance rain should have in his people’s understanding of God. “Are there any among the idols of the nations who give rain? Or can the heavens grant showers? Is it not You, O Lord our God? Therefore we hope in You, for You are the one who has done all these things” (Jeremiah 14:22 NASB).

What a wonderful blessing to experience the rain shower that day and to be reminded of God’s power and faithfulness to us. There is no one like our God.

TWEETABLE
Rain from Heaven – living in God’s abundance from Melissa Henderson, @MimiOnLife on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

MHendersonWRF4

About the author: Melissa Henderson and her husband Alan live in coastal South Carolina. She was taught a love for reading and writing at an early age. Melissa continues to write Christian stories, articles, and devotionals. She also enjoys sharing inspirational messages on her blog at melissaghenderson.com.

Her first children’s book, Licky the Lizard, offers parents, grandparents, and educators a tale that teaches children a simple, yet important message: there is no need to fear any of God’s creatures because we are all created by Him—and He loves us all.

Join the conversation: What experiences have reminded you of God’s faithfulness?

He Found Joy Standing in Line?

by Melissa Henderson @mimionlife

On Saturday, hubby and I visited the new neighborhood grocery store.  The opening day has long been anticipated in our area. For months, coupons and advertisements (one even  an invitation to an ice cream social) have filled our mailboxes. We all excitedly watched finishing touches of the construction completed with the installation of new traffic lights and landscaping.

Everyone was a-buzz. “When is the store opening? What is different about this store? Has anyone ever heard of this chain? Wonder what will happen to the other two grocery stores?”

Even though we love our other local markets, we looked forward to seeing what this new place would offer. When opening day arrived, we jumped in the car and headed over—along with the rest of the community.

The parking lot was full when we arrived. Store “hosts” were gathering carts to take back inside. A booth was set up outside as a place to sign up for the store rewards card. Alan and I took our place at the back of the line and waited for our turn.

Then amidst all the excitement and crowd, I saw him.

A car had just parked, and a woman exited the driver side. The passenger door opened and an elderly gentleman waited for her assistance. She placed a walker in front of him, and he grabbed both sides for balance and stood. They proceeded slowly across the parking lot and joined the rewards card line. Right behind us.

“What a beautiful day!” the man said to us. “Have you been here before? This is our first time.” He had the biggest grin on his face.

Turning to face him, I answered. “No, we haven’t been here. This is our first time, too.”

The kind gentleman continued speaking with a glowing smile. “Isn’t today beautiful? The sun is shining and the birds are singing. I sat on my back porch this morning and listened to the sounds of nature. What a glorious day!”

We continued chatting, until we both had our turn to fill out the forms. As we walked into the store, he ended our conversation with, “Have a wonderful day!” All the while continuing to smile.

Our interaction touched my heart. I may never see him again. On a day when anyone could have understandably been grouchy about the crowd or standing in line, this man showed me God’s love with his big smile and friendly conversation.

I wish I could say thank you to that elderly gentleman. He found joy while standing in line! With a walker! And he generously passed that joy along to me.

The Apostle Paul talked about how we should use our gifts. “There are varieties of effects, but the same God who works all things in all persons. But to each one is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good” (1 Corinthians 12:6-7 NASB). Our spiritual gifts are not for us. They are given for the benefit of those around us. And when we employ them toward that end, we parcel out hope.

Have you found unexpected joy today? Share a smile with someone. And make their day.

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13 NIV 

TWEETABLE
He Found Joy Standing in Line? thoughts on waiting from Melissa Henderson, @mimionlife,  on @AriseDailyDevo (Click to Tweet)

MHendersonWRF4About the author: Melissa Henderson and her husband Alan live in coastal South Carolina. She was taught a love for reading and writing at an early age by her parents. Melissa continues writes Christian stories, articles, and devotionals. She also enjoys sharing inspirational messages on her blog at melissaghenderson.com.

Her first children’s book, Licky the Lizard, offers parents, grandparents, and educators a tale that teaches children a simple, yet important message: there is no need to fear any of God’s creatures because we are all created by Him—and He loves us all.

Join the conversation: Have you ever had an encounter that changed your day?