Alphabet Faith Stories: Neighborly Nancy

Who is our neighbor?

N: Neighborly Nancy. Luke 10:27–“He answered, ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of neighborly:

  • Of, relating to, or characteristic of congenial (friendly) neighbors
  • Helpful and friendly
  • Familiar and helpful: friendly

Phrases often used with the word neighbor:

  • Neighboring tone
  • Neighbor note
  • Neighborship
  • Neighbor like
  • Neighborly (brotherly) love
  • Love your neighbor as yourself
  • Forgive your neighbor as Christ forgives you
  • Neighborly way

N: Neighborly Nancy’s Story:

“According to Nancy, a weather forecaster for a local TV station, she predicted that severe thunder storms were on the horizon for that afternoon and the next 2-3 days. Since most of the surrounding area where she lived consisted of farms, she had hoped her prediction would help them to prepare beforehand for the severe weather ahead.

After leaving the TV station enroute to her home, she noticed dark clouds hanging low in the distance ahead of her. It looked like the thunder storms were right on schedule and she hoped to reach home before the rain began.

As she passed one of her neighbor’s farms, she noticed that one of his horses had gotten out of the fence–no doubt frightened at hearing the clash of thunder which made him run down the hill toward the road. Nancy immediately stopped her car so she could use her phone to call her neighbor and let him know about the horse, but there was no service.

Since Nancy had experience working with horses–she helped on Saturdays with the children’s horse-riding therapy group at the Bar Ranch near her home–she began talking with the horse and he started to calm down. Within a few minutes, she noticed that her neighbor and one of his hands came riding over the hill to rescue the horse. Puzzled, Nancy wondered how he knew about the run-away horse. He thanked Nancy for helping to keep him calm until they could get there, and told her that another neighbor noticed the frightened horse running off and alerted the farmer. Nancy stopped at the right time to keep the horse calm until he got there.”

In Romans 13:10, it says, “Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. Honor one another above yourselves.” (NIV) Nancy was a prime example of someone who honored her neighbor above herself by stopping to help her neighbor’s horse. She did it without question and wanted to help the frightened animal.

In Romans 15:2, it says, “Each of us should please his neighbor for his good to build him up.” (NIV) Nancy was willing to take the time at the end of her busy, tired day to stop and help her neighbor’s animal.

We may or may not have an opportunity to help our neighbor with a frightened horse, but God gives us other ways in which to help our neighbors–by being kind, showing love to one another in our words and actions, and forgiving one another as Christ has done to us.

Let us be the kind of neighbor that shows love in our “actions and deeds” so that others can depend on us for help and support whenever they need a helping hand.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Mature Martha

Maturity and wisdom go hand in hand.

M: Mature Martha. Hebrews 6:1-3–“Therefore let us leave the elementary teachings about Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again the foundation of repentance from acts that lead to death, and of faith in God, instruction about baptisms, the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment. And God permitting, we will do so.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of maturity:

  • The quality or state of being mature
  • Having completed natural growth and development
  • Having attained a final or desired state
  • Of, or relating to, being an older adult
  • Characteristic of or suitable to a mature individual

Phrases/quotes pertaining to maturity:

  • Maturity comes with experience, not age
  • Maturity is when we live by the truths that are in our heart and soul
  • Be the person you are. Never try to be another, and you will become mature
  • Our maturity will be judged by how well we are able to agree to disagree and yet continue to love one another

M: Mature Martha’s Story:

“As the matriarch and current President of the Christian Women’s Association, Martha often found herself in situations where she had to be mature and wise in leading the group of charitable women volunteers in the community.

Martha was responsible for, and in charge of, initiating many of the community’s fundraisers: tickets for the local charity ball to benefit the pediatrics ward at the local hospital; learning-to-read books for kids in first to third grade at Porter Elementary School; funds for the soup kitchens and Salvation Army in two counties; Middle and High School fundraisers to support the PTO; obtaining volunteers to help with the Christmas Shop at the elementary school (students were able to purchase inexpensive items for their family and friends); and many more.

As a former high school teacher, Martha tutored high school students two days a week in math and English to help prepare them for college preparatory entrance exams. Martha’s knowledge and experience over the years helped a number of students to pass their exams and prepared them to write letters of interest and fill out applications to numerous colleges.

Although Martha never married, her heart and soul was in her community and she shared her maturity and wisdom by living out the truths that were in her heart and soul to both her students and friends.

When Martha retired from teaching, she was awarded a monetary gift and plaque for her years of service not only to her students but to the faculty and friends that appreciated and valued her in high esteem. The plaque stated:

‘To Our Distinguished Martha who has served Smithville High School for 30 years, and for her untiring devotion and attention to all of its students, we wanted to personally thank you for all that you have contributed–with maturity and wisdom–that you imparted to the students that you have taught and to the faculty who came to love and respect you as a teacher.

Ephesians 2:10 says: “For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do.”

Martha, you certainly have exemplified this scripture in your life and our school was so very fortunate to have you as one of our faculty members. We wish you all the best in your continued journey to ‘do good works.’

At the retirement party, Martha’s heart was full of praise and thanksgiving that she was able to live her life to the fullest every day because she truly believed that “she was God’s workmanship, created to do good works” and others felt her commitment and love.

Martha then became the President of the Christian Women’s Association and continues to do what God had prepared her to do.”

Like Martha, may we all have the maturity and wisdom to share our life’s experiences with others who need to be shown the love of God by helping with whatever God has prepared us to do because we truly are “God’s workmanship and were created to do good works.”

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Loving Lily

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God is love

L: Loving Lily. I Corinthians 13:13–“And now these three remain: faith, hope, and love. But the greatest of these is love.” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of love:

  • A strong affection for another
  • Warm attachment, enthusiasm, or devotion
  • The object of attachment, devotion, or admiration
  • Unselfish loyalty and benevolent concern for the good of another

Phrases associated with love/loving:

  • Love never fails
  • Our family grows on love
  • Faith…Hope…Love
  • God is love; do everything in love
  • Love is a friendship set to music
  • Better to have lost and loved than never to have loved at all
  • A friend is someone who knows all about you, but loves you anyway

L: Loving Lily’s Story:

“Lily was so excited to begin sixth grade and she couldn’t wait until music class. Ever since she learned to play a guitar in elementary school, she had wanted to learn how to play the violin. So at the beginning of middle school, she hurriedly signed up to take violin lessons from the school’s music director. She noticed that there was also one other student in her class that signed up for violin lessons on the same evening after school. Her name was Anne and both of the girls were very excited to begin taking lessons and became very good friends in school that year.

As the year progressed and after the girls learned two difficult songs, the music director told the girls that they were ready to play with the school band during the school’s spring concert which was to be held in two weeks. Although nervous, they both agreed that they would be able to participate. However, Lily noticed that Anne seemed especially anxious about the concert but thought it was just nerves. Lily decided to ask Anne about it, and Anne confided that she wasn’t sure if she could play in the concert because her mother was ill. It was during their conversation that Lily learned of Anne’s situation at home.

Anne lived with her mother and little sister and her mother always worked the day shift at the local hospital as a nurse’s aide. She was always available to pick them up after school but a neighbor would pick up Anne on the days she had her lessons. Her mother had been sick for the past several months but managed to continue working. Because of the costs for her mother’s treatments, Anne’s mother wasn’t sure how much longer she could afford to pay for her daughter’s music lessons and thought that she might have to drop out before the end of the school year.

Lily felt heartbroken for her friend and told her mother Anne’s story. What if they could help Anne so she could continue taking lessons? What if they could raise the necessary funds for both Anne and her mother’s treatments? After all, Lily had learned that “God is love” in Sunday School class and that they were supposed to do “all things in love” for one another. Lily’s mother told her to pray and then write down any ideas that she could do to help raise the necessary funds for Anne and that she would also talk with her friends at the PTA meeting that evening.

When Lily’s mom returned from her meeting, she told Lily that God had answered their prayers. When the PTA heard Anne’s story, they all agreed to take the money from the PTA benevolent fund to help pay for the rest of Anne’s lessons until the end of the school year as well as some of the costs for her mother’s treatments.

The next day after school, Lily and her mother drove to Anne’s home and presented this loving gift to her mother. With thankful hearts and tears of joy from both Anne and her mother, Lily and her mom left thanking God for allowing them to make a difference in someone else’s life.

Lily and her mother showed unselfish concern for the good of another individual and the outcome was an “outpouring of God’s love” and a blessing that Anne and her mother received by their generosity.”

John 15:12 says, “My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.” Showing love to another is how God shows his love toward us and that “we will remain in his love if we obey his commands.”

Romans 12:9-10 also tells us that our “love must be sincere and to hate what is evil; cling to what is good. Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.”

In closing, let us think about the words from I John 4:12: “No one has ever seen God; but if we love one another, God lives in us and his love is made complete in us.” This is what we need to let others see in our lives: God’s love in us.

Blessings,

Yvonne

Alphabet Faith Stories: Kindhearted Kathryn

Show kindness one to another.

K: Kindhearted Kathryn. Proverbs 11:16–“A kindhearted woman gains respect…” (NIV)

Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of kindness/kindhearted:

  • The quality or state of being kind
  • A kind deed; kind act
  • The quality of being warm-hearted
  • Tendency to be kind and forgiving

Phrases/quotes for kindness:

  • Kindness is our power, even when fondness is not
  • Kindness is the language the deaf can hear and the blind can see
  • Real kindness seeks nothing in return
  • Be kind, always if you have a choice, be kind
  • Kindness is everything in life
  • Be kind whenever possible; it is always possible

K: Kindhearted Kathryn’s Story:

“Kathryn was smaller in stature than most young girls her age, but she was gifted with having a “great big heart.” She was taught at an early age by her parents and in Sunday School that Jesus loved her and that she should show this to everyone by being kind. Her kindness was evident in kindergarten when she shared her toys and played with her classmates during recess and this behavior carried throughout her middle and high school years.

She often invited friends to her house after school–with mom’s permission of course–and played until their parents’ picked them up. She enjoyed talking and listening to her friends’ ideas and dreams for their lives. It was on one such occasion that Kathryn decided that she wanted to be a veterinarian and began looking into colleges to get her degree.

Kathryn volunteered at the the local Humane Society after school and spent her summers learning as much as she could about taking care of animals and watching the Vet administer various shots and medications to sick animals. She even got to ride along on emergency calls to nearby farms to assist with horses and cows in distress.

The Vet told Kathryn that she had a “kind” talking voice and it helped calm the animals whenever they had to have a vaccine. Kathryn became known as the “animal whisperer” and her calm demeanor was seen by all who knew her.

After Kathryn graduated from college, she became a resident at a prestigious Veterinarian Hospital and assisted her mentors with several animal operations. She loved what she felt she was “born” to do and everyone saw her enthusiasm and love for her profession.

Kathryn finally graduated with high honors and went on to open her own practice in the small community where she grew up. She worked with some very thoughtful and caring individuals who appreciated Kathryn’s kindness not only with the animals but to all of her employees. She felt truly blessed by all that God had given her and continues to do amazing work at her clinic today.”

Kindness has been viewed as compassion–doing something nice for someone. This is how we can connect with our communities and people from all walks of life. We can make a difference by being an example of kindness with our families, friends, and neighbors.

A survey taken by researchers at the University of California San Diego School of Medicine (June 2020 First Magazine article) actually found that “kindness activates that part of the brain that relates to feelings of closeness with others.”

Kindness can be shown in a “kind deed or kind act”. Ephesians 4:32 tells us that we should “be kind and compassionate to one another” just as Christ has shown to us. Our actions are “the windows that someone can look into and see the love of God within our souls.”

We pray that we show kindness to one another even if we do not get anything in return. God is love and let our lives show that to the rest of the world.

Blessings,

Yvonne