Nothing is much more fulfilling in this world than making a difference. This is also very true in the spiritual world. Making a difference greatly impacts those around us but also lifts our own spirits and gives us purpose and meaning in life.

There are so many ways to make a difference. Things like speaking a kind word. Sacrificing by giving when you have little, or even much. Offering the last bite or letting others have the last word.

Then there are ways that seem bigger. Going into the mission field, whether to the local soup kitchen or overseas.

One of the ways we have tried to make a difference as a congregation in the past is by going to the Place of Hope in St. Cloud. This organization feeds the homeless by serving three meals a day, assists in providing shelter, helps single moms get back on their feet, and ministers to people physically and spiritually.

At back to school time, they collect not only school supplies, but socks and backpacks that will store many items homeless children will need. We are looking forward to doing this mission as a church congregation soon.

Before we can really make a difference, our own hearts need to have that touch of generosity and kindness. If we fill ourselves with negativity, lies or hurtful thoughts toward others or ourselves, then we are not in a very good place to encourage others.

When I was a young teen, I was involved in a girl’s group called Missionettes. Similar to Girl Scouts, we would earn badges by completing learning or giving activities. We had a theme verse, which was Philippians 4:8. "Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworthy - think about such things."

These verses encourage us to strive to be truthful, and to do things that represent good character (noble). They encourage us to do the “right” thing and treat others well.

We can choose to have our thoughts and actions pure. This comes in many forms, such as listening to good music, being faithful in our relationships, being kind to others, and when we mess up choose to look up and ask God to forgive and redirect us.

The next part is what is lovely. There are a lot of things we can think on that are not lovely; things that pull us down, hurt our hearts, abuse others. Avoid these things and look around for God’s beauty, which we certainly see in our beautiful northland!

Thinking on things that are admirable goes along with this thought too; and if it is something admirable, it is an opportunity to encourage those who are doing admirable things. If we choose to think on these things, we are in a much better place for the light of our Lord to flow out from within and bless others.

This is truly what our Heavenly Father desires. To be people of encouragement, love, joy, peace and all of those things that come into our hearts when we seek Him. He made this world beautiful. When sin and hurtfulness came in, He provided a way to be made new, by placing our faith in Him and His son Jesus Christ.

When we put our faith and our heart in the right place, it makes a difference in our hearts and allows us to make a difference in other people's hearts and lives. May be we let God make a difference in our lives today!