During song request time at our nursing home service recently; Bella raised her hand and asked; “Can we do something different today?” Then she wheeled herself to the front of our little room and plugged in a cassette player. When she pushed the play button the room was filled with the sounds of a lady’s trio from her church singing a song which she had written many years ago.
The experience was eye opening to me. As I heard the music and words I realized again that not only Bella but everyone in that room had something beautiful to give. No matter what chapter we are at in our lives today; God still has some surprises to tell us about if we will listen for them. It may be that things seem dark and confusing in your world or in the life of someone you love for whom you have become a caregiver. If the waves seem to be filling your little boat faster than you can bail them out; why not consider the words from the chorus of Bella’s song this morning?
The Raging Storm
In the midst of all this raging
Comes a loud and piecing cry
In the storm and in the tempest
Be not afraid – For it is I!
God has not forgotten us. He specializes in commanding storms and calming fears. He is with us all through every part of our journey. If we open the ears of our heart we will hear Him calling; “Don’t be afraid because I am right beside you!”On the cross as Jesus took the penalty for our sins He cried out; “Why have you forsaken me?” in order that He would have to never leave us and He has promised to be with us to the very end!
For what will it profit a man if he gains the whole world and forfeits his soul? Or what shall a man give in return for his soul? Matthew 18:26
The world counts success in gaining position, possession or pleasure as something of value. Those who break through hardships to lay hold of a passing prize are loved, envied or hated depending on which side of their battle you happen to be on. They win respect and by that respect are counted as persons of value. From the other side of heaven’s window the race for value takes on a different hue. While the world pours praise on outward beauty, or physical ability, God treasures the hidden inner value of a soul. There was in fact no price too high to pay for the value that Jesus said rests in the blossom of even one single soul.
But Jesus said, “Let the little children come to Me, and do not forbid them; for of such is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 19:14
Often lost in the whole pro-life/ pro-choice debate is the heart of Jesus Christ. Jesus is the defender of life but we must not be so focused on life beginning at conception; that we forget it doesn’t end at birth. In God’s eyes; life is not only about its opening chapter, but also about its closing lines. The same Savior, who writes down the name of every child in His book also offers to carry each of us in His arms to the very end. Where we stand on the issue of life is not only about what we say, but more importantly is about what we do. How we chose to invest our time and hearts in the lives of others will reap returns for all eternity. What better pro-life statement can we make than to serve the real people in our own small corner of this world from conception to their final breath?
He came and daringly broke through the barriers of shame, hardship and suffering and paid the terrible price on the cross to bring us to the throne of mercy. Jesus came to give value, not to take it. Jesus came to pay a price, not to exact one. As we venture out into another week of busyness, work and struggle we should ask God for His eyes. Only when we ask to look out through heaven’s windows will we know as He does the price and value of the lives around us as well as for our own!
And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus Philippians 4:19
As Paul sat in prison he was feeling sorry for himself, rather he was focused on the needs of the people in the Philippian church. Funny that Paul’s visit to their city had ended with being beaten and thrown into the dungeon! This Thanksgiving there are some folks who live imprisoned by weakness, pain or abandonment in institutions we call nursing homes. They may receive excellent care and have fine meals but their loss of freedom and choice at the holiday can be stronger than at other times of the year. Wouldn’t this be an excellent time to organize a group to visit and remind the residents that God has not forgotten them
The pond is still warm enough to swim in and the willows have not even thought about turning to their Fall yellow wardrobe but it is not to early to begin planning your Thanksgiving program for nursing home!
Moms and Dads, Grampas and Grammas and yes even some sons and daughters will not be spending Thanksgiving with family because they are in long term skilled nursing care. Whatever the reason
they can not be with their own family, there is no reason in the universe that we can not plan on being a part of God’s family for them this year.
A) The first step is to right now go to your recreation department director and get on her or his busy calendar. It is never too early to reserve a day that will work best for you and your church team to go.
B) Spend time praying and then planning the best presentation you can put together. If you were doing for a program for your church you would do no less than your best. Consider investing in materials such as song books, costumes, or decorations. One big hit with our local nursing home is the cookies that the youth hand out after the program!
C) Assemble your team (even if that is just 2-3) and begin to practice-practice-practice what you have decided together to do. Plan on a program of about 20 – 25 minutes maximum. Whatever more time you have after doing your music, skits and devotional should be given to personal visiting. The more our team has been going back over these last few years, the more the nursing home residents begin to remember their names and faces. Some of our most shy team members are the biggest hits among residents. We have many materials available for you to use including, workbooks, guides and a variety of true stories to inspire you long your own ministry journey.
Here is a short video giving a few of the basics that may help you to prepare