3-Week Series: Double Blessing

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Summary: When I was grade school aged, I liked to make things out of cardboard. My Dad ran a gas station for a while and that provided me with many boxes that various things came in

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When I was grade school aged, I liked to make things out of cardboard. My Dad ran a gas station for a while and that provided me with many boxes that various things came in. On my Mom’s side, well she sold baskets for a while through a company called Baskets Plus and that provided me with a lot of cardboard as well. Being a young boy with a big imagination, I used all that cardboard to do everything from making forts, to rolling down hills in them. However, the board games out of the cardboard that I made is what I still think about the most.

I do not remember the game I had made, but I do remember what one of my parents had suggested to me. I was spending my summers with them in California at the time, and it was suggested that I send my homemade game into a company as a prototype with the hopes of them liking it, manufacturing it, and selling it. What an amazing thing to tell a kid to cultivate their imagination. It was very exciting. I had many ideas back then. Unfortunately, that is about as far as I took it though. I never did take the advice and mail that game, or any other in. Who knows what could have been had I had the confidence to follow up…

Not having the confidence to follow up on something wasn’t the case for young Alexandra Scott. Alexandra Scott was less than a year old when she was diagnosed with cancer and spent her first few years of life fighting against the odds. After receiving a stem cell transplant around her fourth birthday, she vowed to start a lemonade stand to raise money for other children going through the same thing. With the help of her brother, the first stand raised $2,000. The lemonade stand to support cancer research became an annual thing for her family and Alex raised over $1 million before losing her own battle in 2004 at eight years old. Her family continues to carry on her legacy through Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation and has raised over $150 million to date in the hopes of finding a cure. (alexslemonade.org) All of that money and people helped because a 4-year-old decided to use what she had to make a difference.

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The prophet Jeremiah was out to make a difference too in the southern kingdom of Judah around 627-586 B.C. The nation was sliding quickly toward destruction. In the end, Jeremiah ministered under Judah’s last five kings, but he very easily could not have. Had he been like young Travis and his cardboard game, he may not have done anything. He may have listened to the voice of doubt telling him he was not up to it.

Can you think of times in your life where you felt a calling to do something, but you didn’t…? Can you think of a time where you felt a nudge but didn’t act because you didn’t feel like you were up for it, made for it, or the right person for the job…?

Jeremiah starts here in 4 The word of the LORD came to me, saying,… How do you typically listen…? How do you typically hear something said to you…? Active listening is a skill I teach the residents I work with at my prison job. In addition, what seems like a remedial skill to some, actually is not done by many. One definition for active listening is, “An active way of hearing what the other person is saying to you.” In other words, making eye contact, nodding your head, and other acknowledging ways of showing you are listening. Jeremiah said here, the word of the Lord. Eye contact isn’t always an option, except for when He is coming to us through others. How else can we actively listen to the Lord…? How often do you stop to smell the roses…? Let us take the time to notice the Lord’s work around us… Where do you see the Lord at work around you…? (Examples)

For me to notice more, and especially to hear more, I need quiet. We all have different ways we learn and process, and for me at least, I need exterior noises to be quiet for me to hear and process what I’m supposed to hear and process. Our lives are filled with so much busyness that we can miss things.

Have you ever felt or noticed that internal nudge to say, or do something…? Maybe you randomly think of someone you know or love…. You may suddenly think, “you know, I should contact so and so and see how they’re doing”. Then you don’t, and shortly thereafter you find out something did go on with them. That still small voice is just that and often isn’t a loud startling bang. Therefore, in order to hear it, we need to be listening. Moreover, for many, in order to listen, we must quiet our minds that often are cluttered with a constant barrage of activity, various distractions, social media, or otherwise focus on things other than God. And the more we don’t have our focus on God, the less prone we are to both hear His word, and act on it. And when we’re not acting on God’s word, or God’s directive, then we’re acting on our own, and I can name a billion times where man acted on their own accord and things didn’t go well.

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