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Some things are just strange aren’t they? Just yesterday I received a message from a friend of mine thanking me for ministering to her the day before.

Day 232

Red Vines can help you minister to others.

As I sat looking at the message, I wondered what in the world she was talking about. I quickly went over the day before, and couldn’t see any way that I had ministered to her. So, I took stock of the day again, this time much more slowly, and still, I couldn’t come up with a thing. As far as I could see, it was just another Sunday.

I though about asking her, but then thought “no”, because really it feels like a stupid question. Someone tells you that you helped them a bit, ministered to them (which is a little step up from just helping) and then you don’t remember what you did? I mean really, aren’t we supposed to remember this sort of thing?

Finally, after a couple of hours of coming back to it and wondering about it, it dawned on me that I just had to know what on earth she was talking about. So, I contacted her and her answer was simple. Red Vines.

Red Vines. The red, tasty licorice candy that’s low in fat and high in sugar. And, because it seems to chew forever, makes it feel like you’re eating a lot of the sugary treat when in reality you’ve only had a twist or two. Okay, maybe three, but that’s not the point.

Her answer left me more confused than ever, I realized that I had given her a box of Red Vines, and they weren’t even mine. They were hers. I had bought them for her when we were at the store the day before. She left them at my house, and, I knew I would see her the next day. So, I took them to church with me to give to her, praying all the while that they wouldn’t melt into some weird red gob of gooeyness as they sat in my hot truck during the service.

When I gave them to her, as far as I was concerned that was the end of it. But, for her, it wasn’t. The act of my remembering to giver her the box of Red Vines reminded her that someone thought about her, remembered her and cared enough about her to make sure that she could enjoy something she liked.

Later, I got to thinking that that’s really what ministry is all about. Thinking about someone, remembering them and then caring about them enough to do something about it. It’s in this very way, in the small things of life, that we can show others how much God thinks about each one of us, remembers who and what we are, and loves us enough to want to be a part of our lives.

“As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear him; for he knows how we are formed, he remembers that we are dust.”

Psalm 103:13-14

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Sitting with a friend of mine the other day with the hot, hot sun scrambling our brains as we  were trying to parse out James, we got off track a little which in itself is not unusual.

Just an aside, if your new to diving into the scriptures I wouldn’t recommend studying James first, it’s only 5 chapters but we’ve taking the whole summer to get through 4. Of course, we could be a little dense, but that’s beside the point.

Either way, while our brains were trying to wrap themselves around our will and God’s will, we started talking about how God doesn’t need us to do anything and that possibly He uses us for our own benefit because He delights in us. This is pretty mind bending when you try to think about it, the God who made the Universe and everything in it delights in each of His children enough to actually partner with them in doing His will.

Whenever I hear the word delight, no matter what the context, it always rushes to join its eternal mate in my mind, “Turkish”.

My mom is English and she loves Turkish Delight. My memories are filled with her enthusiasm whenever she would find this rare treat in the United States, which at the time was a rare find. Watching her enjoy the taste of it, I could fully see why Edmond would literally trade his soul to the White Witch for the stuff in C.S. Lewis’ “The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe”. It was a reminder of home for her along with a sweet treat that she thoroughly enjoyed.

Me, not so much. Turkish Delight was a strange, perfumed jelly-like substance that tasted more like perfume to me than candy, but that didn’t stop my mom from offering me a bite every time she was able to procure a box. Fortunately for me, that was only about once a year.

I still remember the way it smelled and how my mom literally delighted in it even if I wrinkled my nose. It wasn’t until I actually visited Turkey and tasted the real deal that I changed my mind about the perfumed candy.

There was an amazing candy and coffee shop called Tugba, Kuruyemis, where I tried authentic Turkish Delight for the first time, and believe me after I tasted the real thing, I had a few boxes packed in my suitcases to take home to friends and family.

Yes, it was still perfumed. Yes, it was still a jelly-like candy. Yes, it was covered in powered sugar just like the imported variety my mom uses to enjoy, but there was some difference I was unable to identify that made it delightful to me, maybe it was because it was authentic.

And that’s kind of how we all are with the idea that God delights in us, and by extension that we can truly delight in God. It’s a bizarre concept. Although we can see other people who experience it and enjoy it, until we experience the authentic delight of God for ourselves we will never really understand, or enjoy, that deep relationship with Him that stems from the mutual delight of two individuals who deeply love one another.

“instead you will be called My Delight is in Her, and your land Married, for the LORD delights in you, and your land will be married.”

Isaiah 62:4b

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