Philemon 8-22

“Accordingly, though I am bold enough in Christ to command you to do what is required, yet for love’s sake I prefer to appeal to you—I, Paul, an ambassador and now a prisoner also for Christ Jesus— I appeal to you for my child, Ones′imus, whose father I have become in my imprisonment. (Formerly he was useless to you, but now he is indeed useful to you and to me.) I am sending him back to you, sending my very heart. I would have been glad to keep him with me, in order that he might serve me on your behalf during my imprisonment for the gospel; but I preferred to do nothing without your consent in order that your goodness might not be by compulsion but of your own free will. Perhaps this is why he was parted from you for a while, that you might have him back for ever, no longer as a slave but more than a slave, as a beloved brother, especially to me but how much more to you, both in the flesh and in the Lord. So if you consider me your partner, receive him as you would receive me. If he has wronged you at all, or owes you anything, charge that to my account. I, Paul, write this with my own hand, I will repay it—to say nothing of your owing me even your own self. Yes, brother, I want some benefit from you in the Lord. Refresh my heart in Christ. Confident of your obedience, I write to you, knowing that you will do even more than I say. At the same time, prepare a guest room for me, for I am hoping through your prayers to be granted to you.”

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Micah 6:8

“He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
    And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
    and to walk humbly with your God.”

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Mother Teresa

Agnes Gonxha Bajaxhiu was born in Skopje, Macedonia. She made an early commitment at the age of 12 to follow her faith and serve the church. At the age of 18, she left home and joined the Sisters of Loreto. While going through her training, she changed her name to Sister Mary Teresa. Following her faith and her heart, she soon left for Calcutta to join the sisters who were working there as missionaries.

While in India, Sister Teresa witnessed hunger and suffering. She had been teaching at a catholic school but decided to leave the school to establish a place, in the slums, where the poor and unloved would find care. It took two years to establish her mission in Calcutta.

Mother Teresa continued to follow her heart and her faith. Her hard work and dedication to the “least of these” began to capture the attention of people all around the world…

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I Am Reminded God Loves Me

As Christians, we are called to love God with our whole heart, soul, and mind, but there are days this is a very hard concept for me. On days when nothing is going my way or when there is unnecessary violence toward others in the world, I have a hard time remembering God loves me through it all. I have a renewed sense of love and value by connecting with other Christians through various bible studies that are provided at both of our St. Luke’s campuses…

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Keep the Blessing Going

Hody Childress was a wonderful man of faith who understood how to help carry the burdens of others. Hody was a farmer in a small rural community. Everyone knew Hody to be a good man. However, his neighbors in the small Alabama town of Geraldine had no idea how generous he was to his neighbors. They did not find out until Hody’s funeral when his daughter, Tania, told his story.

One day, just over a decade ago, Hody went to the local pharmacy to pick up a prescription for his sick wife. While he was waiting, he overheard a person leave a prescription behind because they could not afford it. Hody talked to the pharmacist, and he was told that it happens all the time.  Hody reached into his pocket and took out a $100 bill…

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Love Even When It’s Hard

I have worked in childcare for the last 16 years and as a director for the most recent seven years. I graduated college with a degree in Education and completed the testing to be a certified teacher. During my studies in school, I learned ways to manage a classroom, how to handle behavior issues, and how to help a child catch up in reading or math. What they don’t teach is how to love all the people you come in contact with.

There are children who can be incredibly hard to handle, teachers that don’t see eye-to-eye with your philosophies, and parents or guardians that don’t want to follow policies. Over the years of working with so many people I have learned that when a person or child is acting unlovable, that is when they need someone to love them unconditionally…

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Gracious Hospitality

So many stories have emerged recently from the deadly snowstorm that covered Buffalo, NY. The December blizzard brought deadly cold temperatures and over 40” of snow in just under 24 hours. The freezing winds reached speeds over 70 mph. The heavy snow and wind combined to create conditions that kept anyone from being able to see and navigate. The blizzard conditions trapped people away from home, stranded travelers in dangerous conditions and sadly, cost the lives of 27 people. It was the deadliest winter storm in Buffalo since 1950.

As the storm was starting to unleash its fury on upper New York, a group of tourists from South Korea were traveling through the area. They had been to visit Niagara Falls. As they were driving through Buffalo, their bus got stuck in the snow. Two of the Korean tourists walked to the closest house, with the hope to borrow a shovel. They knocked on the door of Alex Campagna’s home. Alex knew this was one of the worst storms he had ever seen. He also knew that they might get their bus free, but it would only be for a moment…

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Colossians 3:12-17, 4:6

“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness, and patience, forbearing one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in the one body. And be thankful. Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teach and admonish one another in all wisdom, and sing psalms and hymns and spiritual songs with thankfulness in your hearts to God. And whatever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.

Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer every one.”

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Psalm 18:1-3

I love you, Lord, my strength.

The Lord is my rock, my fortress and my deliverer;
    my God is my rock, in whom I take refuge,
    my shield and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold.

I called to the Lord, who is worthy of praise,
    and I have been saved from my enemies.

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Start Reading With a Child

The Gospel of Mark 12:31 reads, “The second is this: Love your neighbor as yourself. There is no commandment greater than these.”

There are so many ways where we can reach out and love thy neighbor. I think about these verses as St Luke’s starts up the Reading Buddies programs with two elementary schools, where we’ve created partnerships through reading to children in Edmond and Oklahoma City. I think it’s an incredible way to serve our community and love our neighbors.

Did you know that children who read twenty minutes a day are exposed to 1.8 million words a school year and will score in the 90th percentile on standardized tests? A child who only reads five minutes a day is exposed to 282,000 words a school year and scores in the 50th percentile on standardized tests.

As you can see, there are many benefits for children who are part of our Reading Buddies program. Being a Reading Buddy mentor can have a profound impact on a child’s life, especially when their home life isn’t ideal…

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