“For the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing to the division of soul and of spirit, of joints and marrow, and discerning the thoughts and intentions of the heart.” Hebrews 4:12

                A few years ago, I heard Ina Garten on a food show share a tip about chocolate.  She said that you can enhance the flavor of chocolate by adding a little instant espresso powder to your batter.  I am always looking for new ways to add coffee to my life, and this seemed the perfect marriage.   Her tip worked, and since then I have seen other recipes that include instant espresso or brewed coffee.  For all coffee haters, the cake or brownie does not end up tasting like a chocolate covered espresso bean, instead it brings out the richness and depth of the chocolate.

                Sometimes in your life, you meet a person who adds a richness and quality to your life just by their presence.  They are not loud or demanding, but instead are faithful, cheerful, and kind.  They walk into your life with a sweetness that makes you a better person.  My friend, Bertha, is that person in my life.

                Bertha came into my life a few years ago when she started attending the same church I attended.  Despite some health concerns and trials in her life, she always walks into a room with a smile on her face and a gentle word of encouragement towards other.  She also has an amazing ability to tell stories that are colorful and make you belly laugh.

                One of her most outstanding traits is her kindness towards others.  Bertha sacrificially gives, not out of her abundance, but out of her heart.  Recently, she shared a story with me that captures the essence of her character.  Bertha was at a thrift store when she found a Bible with an inscription in it written to a boy from his grandmother in 1932.  She thought the inscription might be related to someone in her family and brought it home.  When she discovered it had no connection, she held on to it and prayed about what she should do.  She decided to post the inscription on Facebook, hoping that someone would know the owner of the Bible.  Within a few days, a woman messaged Bertha and said that the Bible belonged to her late father.  He had received the Bible from his grandmother, and the daughter shared with Bertha that her dad was always kind.  After he had passed away, the Bible somehow got lost.  Bertha arranged to meet with the woman and told her she hoped that the Bible would bless her life with the words of Jesus.  Bertha later got a message from another family member who was also related to the owner.  He had lost touch with his family, and Bertha arranged a reunion!

This was the inscription in the Bible

                This is not the first Bible Bertha has returned to an owner.  She shared another story with different details but ending on the same note.  A Bible found its way back to a family member, with a new possibility of the words of God inspiring and changing more lives.  Bertha bubbled over with excitement as she shared her stories.  She then added, she is making it one of her life’s goal to look at Bibles in thrift stores, and if it has an inscription in it, she is going to attempt to return it to its owner.  This is not because she is looking for a feel-good Hallmark ending, but because she really believes the Bible has the power to transform lives!

                These stories blessed my life.  They reminded me that simple acts of kindness can impact our world!  Yes, some of us may start major nonprofits that feed the hungry or help the homeless.  But God does not ask all of us to do grandiose things.  Micah records in 6:8, “He has told you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness and to walk humbly with your God?  Bertha’s simple acts of kindness add richness to my life, encouraging me to look for opportunities to bless others.

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