Treating the Sick by Jo Russell

Paul was the model patient as he recovered from minor surgery. He rested, enjoying his wife’s extra attention, homemade chicken soup, and extra time to sink into the depths of his recliner.

He followed the doctor’s orders until he felt better. To him, the recovery was proof of modern-day miracles. Then, the man seized the day and sprinted back to life on full throttle. It was too soon.

He was sick again. Not long after, Carol wondered, had any of the returning Canadian geese slipped into our house?

Carol tiptoed through the house with a can of disinfectant in one hand and a large fishing landing net in the other. No geese in sight except on the wide lawn. The honking was only Paul with a racking cough.

Though she emptied wadded-up tissues overflowing the trash cans, she saw more. They seemed to regenerate.

Finally she suggested, “Paul, you’ve been sick for a week. Why don’t I drive you to the 24-hour clinic? They’re open right now.”

“Why, that place is full of sick people! No way!”

“But Paul, think about this — you are sick.”

Still, in his stubbornness, Paul wouldn’t go. He just didn’t want to be around all those infected  people, even though he was one, too.

Some feel that the same applies to being in the company of church goers: that they aren’t perfect and might even show a touch of hypocrisy.

Jesus was criticized in his time for welcoming all into his offer of love, healing, and forgiveness.  “It is not the healthy ho need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” [Mark 2:17]

And so it is today that in a body of believers in Christ, none is perfect, but those who strive together to get better each day, Jesus offers healing. That applies to those today who are soul-sick with regrets, doubts, disappointment, depression, dread, hopelessness, and bitterness. For Christ, a life invested in him and his teachings transforms such conditions to hope, joy, and anticipation.

Jesus still invites all, “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” [Matthew 11:28 NIV]

And his healing is even better than a 24-hour clinic.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

Do You Need More Living Water? By Jo Russell

At her local grocers, tiny Marianne, who felt as short as a marionette, hefted the 24-case bottle of water with the idea of putting it into her shopping cart. It wasn’t easy.

When did these carts get to be so tall? Oooof! That’s heavier than last time.  

Two tries later, the senior tossed it to the back of the cart. But she was astonished with the surprise that followed.

Breaking with the weight of the bottled water, the back end of the cart opened up like a starting gate. Like a self-propelled go-cart, the case slid down the glossy floor just as another customer jumped out of the way!

Marianne gasped and scooted her feet along! When the water came to a stop, the other woman bent over with laughter. Soon, Marianne was laughing, too, as she tried to explain.

“Never mind! That was funny! You’ve made my day!” the younger customer chuckled as she carefully put Marianne’s case of water down inside the basket.

Marianne gingerly pushed the broken cart to the register. She explained to the cashier the problem and the woman seemed to be coughing. The cashier called for another employee to bring a basket.

“Marianne, if you knew you needed help, why didn’t you ask?”

“Well, I…” but she couldn’t think of anything else to say.

“Now, Marianne, do you need any more water?”

“Not now.” But she would on the next trip to the grocers, for she would be thirsty again. With the best of luck, she wouldn’t have customers jumping out of the way of her purchases.

Thousands of years before, Jesus asked an outcast Samaritan woman, “Will you give me a drink?”

The Samaritan pointed out their cultural differences that spelled out the taboos of the day between Jews and Samaritans.

But Jesus told her, “If you knew the gift of God and who is it that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” [John 4:10]

He further explains, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, but whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give him will become in him a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” [John 4:13-14]

Jesus’ gifts of teaching and sacrifice oppose to the world’s expectations. For when he talks of thirst, which all of us feel here on earth, and he means thirst for God. Seeking Jesus will satisfy that thirst and continue to give answers and a path that lead the way to heaven and to him.

Jesus talks of an abundant life. “I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” [John 10:10]  The gift of his own life gives each who accept him a blank slate. It is a new beginning because of forgiveness. Can anyone put a price on  being cleared of mistakes, bad choices?  It’s free to all who want it. Economic status, net worth, income, investments, or assets have no value except as they can be used to help the poor.

Jesus talks of peace. Now and during the political situation of his time, there was no absence of conflict and oppression. Jesus said, “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.”

His peace is what infuses our hearts, minds, and actions by letting the Holy Spirit help us with decisions, words, projects, and problems. Better than customers and staff helping Marianne with her water, his helping hand is with us each day.

Think outside the box. Jesus did. For living water, abundant life, and peace are the percs of a satisfying life of trusting him to guide us—even when cases of water are sliding down the grocery aisle.

[Jo’s stories, like this one are based on true events] [Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

A Matter of True Love by Jo Russell

Jolene asked her grandmother a question that the elderly woman would remember for the rest of her life.

As part of her church training, the young girl had been memorizing the Ten Commandments in Exodus 20. She learned they had been rendered in stone by God’s own hand. But when she got to #7, she was confused.

Why would God use a weird word I don’t understand? Isn’t the Bible supposed to be a book for all ages?

That’s when she asked her grandmother the red-faced question.

“What is adultery?”

Grandma, mother of eight grown children, stammered and stuttered. She finally choked out, “You’d better ask your mom and dad.”

Her question to her mom and dad brought just as much blushing. She tried her church teacher.

When she did find out, Jolene was astonished to learn that men and women had intimate physical contact and that’s how they had children. And seeking out a partner for intimacy outside of the marriage is adultery, whether before or during marriage. God commanded loyalty to him and to each other. He never advised unmarried couples to give each other an apartment key as a sign of love and commitment. God endorses the marriage commitment with key exchange and pillow talk to follow.

Still Jolene wondered, Love? What does it look like? Is it a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day?

At that point in her life, Jolene had only seen an era of parents, grandparents and great grandparents who never kissed, hugged or held hands in public.

They stayed together. They were faithful. Did they love each other?

Jolene never heard them say, “I love you” to each other – or to her or other their family members.

Yet, in word, thoughts, compassion and actions, Grandma and each other family member modeled the love of Christ. Grandma had tenderly cared for Grandpa until his death. Her homemade bread gave the house a “welcome home” fragrance. She made quilts for each bed. Grandma made every birthday remembrance special. That love didn’t stop over the decades.

When Jolene was grown, married, and expecting twins, Grandma commented, “Well, I declare! I need to make another baby quilt for my grandbabies!”

Grandma was love in action.

True love comes down to showing love by what we do. It’s not just what it takes to get by, but investing that which takes time, effort, and sometimes sacrifice. “Be imitators of God, therefore, as dearly loved children and live a life of love, just as Christ loved us and gave himself up for us…”  [Ephesians 5:2]

And that kind of love sprinkled with genuine “I love you”s tops any box of chocolates.

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]

 

 

A Hearty Hello for All by Jo Russell

Rickie opened his eyes with alarm. He vaulted out of bed and ran to his mom and dad’s  sleeping forms.

“Mom! Mom! Wake up! Isn’t this the day?”

“What day, Honey?” She asked her pre-school aged son.

“It’s the day Gus comes. Remember? He drives the big truck and picks up the trash.”

“Yeah,” she yawned. “I think it is. I need to put the put the bags out.”

“Hurry! Hurry!” Rick urged her.

Both pajama-clad mom and son rushed outside and got the bags in the barrel just in time.

When Ricky heard the roar of the diesel engine, he cried, “He’s coming! He’s coming!”

And by the time Gus arrived, Rickie waved both hands above his head as he danced with excitement in his chance to give Gus a hearty hello.

“Thanks!” Gus shouted, “You’ve made my day!”

Ricky watched in awe as the mechanical arm picked up the refuse can and dumped it into the truck. To the boy, it was magic. To Gus, it was just a lever that he pulled over and over throughout the hours of his routine job. But it paid the bills and supported his family.

As many of us grow up, the excitement of waving and greeting the trash man, a store clerk, bus driver, or fast-food worker at a local drive-in may hardly warrant our attention.

Yet they and we are all precious to God.

Jesus calls us to be child-like. That doesn’t mean self-centered childishness. It isn’t wrapped up in getting one’s own way. Nor does it mean that as a grown-up, we are entitled to judge and categorize people according to the world’s yardstick of success. All are important. All have important roles.

Jesus meant for us to think like a child. That attitude helps us to connect and learn from God. It builds bridges to others on earth and to God in his kingdom.

Think of the best things that children have to offer: trust, humility, being teachable and open, faithful and believing as well as looking for the good in others rather than judging them.

“Jesus called a little child and had him stand among them. And he said, “I tell you the truth, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes a little child like this in my name welcomes me.” [Matthew 18:3-5]

In the light of God’s love and value for us, let us shine with appreciation for him. Let’s share our light of joy with others, beginning with a hearty hello.

You might just make their day!

[Jo Russell is a Christian speaker, author of scores of articles, a half dozen anthology contributions, and award-winning Which Button Do You Push to Get God to Come Out? A Humorous Devotional for Women. available from Amazon.com, her speaking engagements and website, www.button-to-god.com. She lives in northeast Arizona with her husband, Ed. Enjoy chuckles and speeches, tips and excerpts in website options and weekly blog.]