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Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lemon Loaves Turned Sour

Blessing never comes before obedience, and obedience isn't always easy. Yesterday morning as I was reading Matthew chapter 5, I read verse 44, "But I say unto you, love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them that despise you and persecute you."
My mind went immediately to a neighbor who has held a bitter grudge against my husband and me for years! Can you imagine that? She dislikes me! **eyes batting** No matter how hard we have tried to make things right with her, she is determined to stick to her guns and make us pay. Bless her heart, she's the one who's been paying because bitterness will eat a person alive, bit by bit.

As I read that verse yesterday, the Holy Spirit whispered to my heart that it was time to try again to reach out to this family. I remembered the humiliation of being rejected the last time I went over. Angry words came spilling my way as I extended a loaf of homemade sour dough bread towards her. I managed to get out that I was always available, should she ever need a neighbor or friend, and I left. Why would I invite that kind of treatment again? Because the Lord was asking me to go. Because He endured far more than that. He was spat upon, beaten, cursed, slapped, and crucified. Surely, I could take rejection - knowing that He was going with me. "Okay, Lord, I'll go."
I made lemon loaves, wrapped them in Easter bags, tied them with a ribbon and then tied up my spiritual courage, all the while repeating my verse from Matthew.
"Love your enemies..." step out the door... "bless them that curse you"...cross the street... "do good to them that hate you"... knock on the door..."Pray for them that despise you..." The door opens. It's Mr. Neighbor. "Hi!" I say in my perkiest voice. "I'm Denise, from across the street! I made some Lemon Bread today and wanted to share a loaf with you." Mr. Neighbor steps back like I has handing him a rattle snake. "No, I better not. My wife will get mad at me." My jaw drops. "Please, I'd love for you to have this." "No, no, better not." Door shuts. "Your new fencing is lovely, " I say into the closing door.

I obeyed, now I leave the results to the Lord. They know we care. I will continue to care. I will continue to pray for their souls. I am no better than they. It was my sin that sent my Savior to the cross. I came home with the rejected loaf of bread and a saddened heart for this dear lady who so badly needs the Lord to relieve her of her bitterness and replace it with His joy and forgiveness! I also came home with the reminder of how my sin can effect others. This dear husband couldn't even receive a gift due to the fear of angering his wife. The contentions of a wife are a continual dropping. Proverbs 19:10b

Obedience doesn't always bring immediate results, does it? However, results are not the issue. We must do what the Lord says, and let Him handle the rest. Now, who else could use a loaf of lemon bread?

Is there a situation you're waiting for God to move in on? Don't give up. God is able! Just obey.
Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Ephesians 3:20, 21
With love and an extra lemon loaf,

5 comments:

lindagl said...

Thank you Denise for being an example to us all. I reached out to my neighbor also yesterday. He was not like your neighbor, but They reject God's house. They would not come to church with me, but I got to talk to him about salvation. He assurd me that he was saved, but I can't help but to doubt this. I told him that I pray that he knows without a doubt that he is saved and I shared with him how he should pray and ask God to save him. But again he assured me that he is. Please pray for him and his wife. They have some beliefs that is not biblical and I told him to read Acts about the church that God does ordain the church. Pray that I won't say anything wrong.

Denise said...

Linda,
I will be praying for your neighbor. Pointing him to the Word and giving him Scripture was wise! It's the Word that works. I'll be praying for you as you continue to witness. You are a blessing!

Beth said...

I've also had my next door neighbor refuse Christmas cookies, so I understand the feeling. Actually, I think he is just lonely, and he remembers my husband's witness--which is what he really dislikes.

BTW, your blog is a source of joy and encouragement to me, though I don't always post. Bet that Lemon Loaf is really good! Thanks for the reminders.

Denise said...

Thank you, Beth. I'm thankful that the Lord can use my simple words to be an encouragement in some small way. He is so good.

奕希 said...
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