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Do Good Always

Sunday, April 19th, 2015

Read 1 Peter 3:8-17

View the March-April, 2015 Issue

Do not repay evil for evil or abuse for abuse; but, on the contrary, repay with a blessing. It is for this that you were called — that you might inherit a blessing.

- 1 Peter 3:9 (NRSV)

My sister Portia and her four children were ordered out of the house by her husband. He had decided to end their 20-year marriage. Our parents took her in, but soon we saw her slip into depression. A neighbor advised us to take her to a counselor where Portia learned the importance of forgiveness. Then one day we noticed a great change; Portia was smiling.

Portia found a job and moved out of our parents’ house. For the next 10 years she raised her children alone. The Lord guided her and the children. Later each one attended university.

Then one day Portia called to tell me that her ex-husband had died. Our family accompanied her to the funeral. A few months later she received word that her ex-husband’s wife was dead. The couple left behind four children who were still at primary and secondary levels. No one from the husband’s family was willing to take the children, but Portia offered to do it. Her four working children helped her take care of these orphans.

God worked miraculously. All eight children are now working, some overseas. Each one calls her “mother.” Portia is a role model to me and to our community; she never repaid evil for evil. She is a testimony of what real love means.

Read more from the author, here.

The Author

Violet Mutasa (Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe)

Thought for the Day

Thought for the Day: Even if the future appears bleak to us, God has another outlook.

Prayer

O God, when we face rejection may your Holy Spirit help us understand that forgiveness heals us. Amen.

Prayer focusSingle Parents

30 Comments

Comment by Joe

Violet, thank you for a heart-rending but heart-warming devotional. Portia is a shining example of forgiveness and big time caring for others no matter where they come from(ex-husband who was so cruel to her). The loving 'Golden Rule' was alive and well in Portia. Matthew 7.12

Posted April 18, 2015 at 07:22AM CDT
Comment by Tommie of Dayton, TN

Portia was a stronger woman than I feel I could ever be. Not only bringing up her own children by a man who had betrayed her, she took in four more children who were, in fact, her children's half siblings. That took a great deal of love and grace. Impressive.

Today started out with brilliant sunshine but there are clouds covering Ol' Sol now. I was hoping to get outside and enjoy some nice weather but the forecast has lightning bolts coming out of the clouds and a 40% chance of storms. Of course, that means a 60% chance it won't storm but it isn't looking too promising right now.

It may be true the squirrel is looking for a safe place to rest and eat. With four cats around (and sometimes five), s/he might be hiding out where the other animals can't get to him/her. That doesn't change the fact that it needs to find another place to hide out. :|

In Adam's three year ago prayers, he speaks in one about "the skies will explode again in with the cascading light of the night sky". I remember one night when I was 17. My sister and her family along with me were visiting her old school chum in Boston. It was at a time of year when the Northern Lights were dancing whenever the skies were clear. It's the only time I've been able to witness them but Adam's description fits perfectly. Isn't God wonderful?

http://devotional.upperroom.org/devotionals/2012-04-18

Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good Morning God and UR family. The day is already busy with activity and little sleep has caused another morning of foggy thoughts so as I pause to read and pray this morning what a powerful and needed devotional. How often I forget to pray for those of us in the family who just to get up from the bed is a victory. Lord open my eyes again to today and everyday, damage my ignorance and restore the love that will allow us to embrace the forgiveness we are given each moment of our lives.

As the fog clears and I listen for You, I hear Your sweet song clear and strong filling me such warmth and comfort. There is no one like You. You are love, love love in my life. I know the day will be amazing with You it always is and more. Needing You and Your love and mercies makes my life so beautiful it fills my eyes with such joy. That I will sing You a new song today of my love for You.
Posted April 18, 2012 at 06:32AM CDT

Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good Evening God and UR family, returning to this place of saints and reading all of the stories, Wow. So many of us dealing with so much. So I pray tonight for the seekers, the lost and lonely. The fearful and the forgotten. I know not of their pain or their name but Lord you know. So as I try and understand all that occurs, I trust and turn to the Lord.
The evening has brought some time of peace and quiet reflection about all You are to me. Expressions and visions of Your beauty remain fresh and alive in my heart and head. Spring seems eternal with You. Constantly I see the blooming flowers with their amazing fragrance and color capturing Your beauty. Allowing me to behold a new vision of You. Surrounding all this color is Your marvelous and radiant light of love. The shining of the sun lingering on my skin, like Your touch. The feeling of it indescribably tender and loving. There is truly nothing like You. The anticipation in my heart is building as I prepare to walk with You beneath the heavens. I know the skies will explode again in with the cascading light of the night sky. The stars shining their light for You, only. The light penetrating my soul to illuminate the place where I want You to reside forever. Allow me to be in Your presence tonight.
So as I close to prepare for my time with You, I know You will be waiting and watching for me. The comfort that gives me, eternally stirs all that I am to love You even more than I did the day before. Until I can witness the starlight singing of Your majestic beauty, wait for me and I will walk with You.
Posted April 18, 2012 at 08:27PM CDT

Comment by adam of Dublin, OH
Good Night God and UR family. What a challenging devotional today and the impact it created is obvious from the comments and prayers that all who came here expressed. I wonder often what courageous looks like. The more I live life the less it looks like the obvious choice. The Hero sent in to save the day. It is more likely to be the small act of kindness and support when it seems most needed. So God as I continue to steadfastly stand here with You during this time of great trial and frustration I know You are there for me and I am here for You. Not knowing exactly what to do, I know that I am important or You would not have me near. Sensing You need more of me, I stand ready and that You all ready know. All of my love is for You. Listening and trying to make sure I hear I know that in time You will work out the situation. Until then know that I am here for You, if there is anything that a simple man can do, when it comes to the things which You grapple.
Leaning in, pulling You close, whispering from my soul, I am here. I love You. I need You. I will gently put my head upon the pillows of Your heart and seek to comfort You. I praise You for all You are to me. Thankful and blessed You are in my life. Frankly You are my life. I would be lost with out You. I know the sunrise will be brilliant and beautiful, announcing another day filled with Your beauty. Until then I will be still and know You are there. Reaching out to me when You need me. I love You.
Posted April 18, 2012 at 11:09PM CDT

Posted April 18, 2015 at 10:52AM CDT
Comment by Sarah of Berwyn, IL

Good morning, everyone! Thank you, Violet, for your devotional this morning. What a special example of love and forgiveness that your sister, Portia, showed by raising her ex-husband’s four children after he and his wife had died, leaving these children with no one to care for them. This, after he had kicked her and her children out of the house years earlier. I can honestly say that I don’t know that I could do that if my ex-husband died leaving young children behind. Her forgiveness and love truly show Jesus in her life, and is such an example for me to be more forgiving, and truly follow what the Scriptures say in the highlighted verse, I Peter 3:9.
VAJ of Winona, MS - I am praising the Lord with you that you and your husband’s visit to the neurosurgeon on Friday brought good news, and that he does not need to have surgery! I am praying that the Lord will bring him total healing, and that the back brace that he was prescribed will be effective. I pray that he will get more good news when he returns for a follow-up visit in mid-May. * JK - I pray that the Lord blessed you and your daughter with travel mercies, and that you had a safe and restful flight home from your vacation.
MERRY of Poteau, OK - I am praying for the family of your Sunday School member, as they held the memorial service for the husband yesterday. I pray that the Lord will bless them with His love, comfort, and peace, knowing that he is now at home with the Savior. I am also praying that everything goes well with the work being done on your house. Continued prayers each day that the Lord will bless you and your husband with renewed strength and health. * ELIZABETH of Buford, GA - I am praising the Lord with you that the doctors have not been able to find anything wrong with your husband’s lungs. I pray that He will continue to bring your husband complete healing and recovery.
JAYNE of Maury City, TN - I am joining you in prayer for the four children who were in an ATV accident last week, and have been in the hospital in serious condition. I pray that the Lord will bring them, Ellie, Emma Jane, Claire, and Shiloh, complete healing from all of their injuries and recovery. I pray that Emma Jane will improve enough to come out of ICU like the others have, and I pray that all future surgeries they need will be successful. * ANITA of Cincinnati - I am praying that everything will go well for you tomorrow, when you start your new job. I am glad that He provided you a way to get out of the previous job where you felt the environment was toxic, and I pray that you will have good success in this new job, and that you will be His light there.
JULIE of Delray Beach, FL - I am praising the Lord with you that your root canal went well, and was painless. Continued prayers for you and all in your family. * SHEILA of Bryantsville - I pray that your visit with your friend, Shelby, who is a missionary to Thailand, was a nice one, and that the Lord will bless her talk today at your church. And I pray that He will use her in a special way at your church, and also in the field in Thailand, bringing many souls to Christ.
ROGER of Springfield, OH - I am praising the Lord that you successfully came through surgery to remove a benign brain tumor! I pray that the Lord will continue to bring you healing and a complete recovery. And I praise him for your six years of being drug-free! I pray that He will carry you through, continuing to keep you off of all drugs. * PANZARONA of New York - I am praising the Lord with you that your co-worker’s husband, Mr. G., successfully came through his surgery for the ruptured bowel. I pray that he will have a quick recovery, and be coming home soon.
MATT - I am praying for your friend, Ricky, who has checked himself into the hospital. I pray that the Lord will bring him healing from whatever his condition might be. I pray that the Lord will guide the doctors who treat him, and that he will have a complete recovery. * HAZEL - So good to see your posting yesterday! I pray for you, that the Lord will uphold you each day, and give you strength and peace.
TOMMIE of Dayton, TN - I am praying for you, that you will be able to find a sure way to get the squirrels out from nesting in and around your house. Having the same problem, I know how aggravating it is. I am ongoing in prayer for you, that the Lord will continue to bring you complete healing, and restful sleep at night.
Have a blessed day, everyone!

Posted April 18, 2015 at 10:06PM CDT
Comment by merry of Poteau, OK

Violet...greetings in Zimbabwe. Welcome to the UR Family. Thank you for your inspiring devotional, Do Good Always. What a great example of love in action.
I'm not sure I could be so brave as Portia.
*
"Always make room in your heart for forgiveness. If you don't do so the pain and hurt only damages you, not the other person. Remember to forgive yourself as well."
……Sage Advice For Everyday Life by Ageless Sage
*
It seems, Portia was able to do this and was wonderfully awarded.

Posted April 18, 2015 at 10:30PM CDT
Comment by Jackie of San Antonio, TX

Hello UR family. Violet thanks for sharing this devotional about your sister with us. It's a beautiful story of faith. It filled my heart with joy. Portia is truly an amazing lady. I don't know of anyone who would do what she did after being treated so badly.

Father God I thank you for wonderful people like Portia. It would be truly wonderful if there were more in our world like her. Father in heaven I give thanks this day for all of these wonderful prayer warriors. Father please here your children praying. Amen

Posted April 18, 2015 at 11:29PM CDT
Comment by James of Fayetteville, GA

Violet, your devotional, and the testimony about your sister Portia reminds me of a similar situation involving the children and family members of a good friend's ex-husband who
divorced her and moved back to Africa with the family he started with a younger woman, while they were still married. Later, when he returned to the USA alone, for medical treatment for a fatal form of cancer, she was there for him for support as he went through a variety of treatments, including radical surgery. She was there to share in his home going service along with his family. I asked her how she was able to do all she did. She said that he was alone and needed her and that she felt led by God to serve in this way. She said that at the end she knew that her relationship with her ex was healed, because all she felt was compassion for him and his situation. She also stated that she believed that this helped her as much as it did her ex. Both of these are fine testimonies to the value of doing good and righteous living. Go bless us one and all. Amen.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 12:26AM CDT
Comment by Sheila of Bryantsville, KY

BITNO Jesus!
*
George... I hope you are home safe and sound. I'm sure it was hard on both of you leaving Bethanne behind... but it's only 8 more days!
*
Chris of Myerstown, PA, thank you... you did answer my question... and... you 'drew me up short' with the question about loving my dad... I never even thought about the need to love him... as I would 'love my neighbor'... it almost seems inconceivable to me... and yet... now that it has been brought to my attention I know it is what I should do... what I must do... even though his body is dead and gone... wherever his spirit is, it still lives... this is going to be something I will have to allow God to work on me with.... Oh, Lord... help me. I did pray for him over the years, even though I had no contact with him since 1972... prayed that he would submit his complete will to The Father... because I knew that would be the only way he could overcome his compulsions... but I don't know if he ever did... give his heart to Jesus. This also means I need to love both of my grandmothers and my one granddad.... abuse came in all forms... ok... Phil. 4:13.... and I'm the little engine that could. Sigh... ok... Just when I thought I was through with hard work to get past my past.... what was I thinking?
But thank you for helping me see God's Truth.
*
Violet Mutasa (Mashonaland East, Zimbabwe), Thank you for today's scripture and the devotional. We are not to repay evil for evil.... TRUE love for our 'neighbor' would keep us from doing so... even if/when the 'neighbor has caused harm. I've asked myself lately... with all the news about Christians being persecuted or killed because of their faith... could I love someone who would persecute me for my faith... enough to pray for them, forgive them... maybe even eventually lead them to Christ? I don't know... but I know I am told in scripture I am supposed to... and as Chris pointed out to me that includes people from my past... if I can't learn to love them... how can I love someone now who would abuse me... this is something I have to let God help me with...
*
We are so blessed to have a Father who loves us so much he puts people in our lives to point out things we need work on.
We are so blessed to know that forgiveness frees us from the chains of bitterness and anger.
We are so blessed to be a part of this UR Family... with all the unconditional love and willingness to 'share the yoke'.
*
Cyber hugs ((( :-) ))) to all who enter these hallowed 'walls' of this Cyber Chapel. You are loved so deeply and without asking for anything in return... but how can we know of such love and not return His love... to the best of our human abilities?

Posted April 19, 2015 at 01:18AM CDT
Comment by monte of laughlintown, PA

Violet, Thank you so much for sharing the story of your sister, Portia. Her witness to the love of God and humanity that she has pales any attempt by me to bear witness. I take the word from our scripture most seriously, "always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you;
3:16 yet do it with gentleness and reverence."---What an accounting Portia has offered!!!

Carolyn and I have been blessed by many encounters with family and old friends over our travels of the last few days as we have left behind our trusty housesitters.
God blesses us by special things in God's wonderful creation: One is a plant in a greenhouse at Rollins College where my niece works:
The Birth of a Corpse Plant Blossom at Rollins College
https://carolynsonlinemagazine.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/the-birth-of-a-corpse-plant-blossom-at-rollins-college/#more-1304

A second blessing is my travelling photographer companion:
Early Morning Pictures from Florida
https://carolynsonlinemagazine.wordpress.com/2015/04/18/early-morning-pictures-from-florida/
In another week we look forward to meeting up with a couple of the UR family. It is so good to meet any of you who share our journey of faith. This morning we will share in worship with our friends in Jacksonville.
Prayers for all this day.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 03:53AM CDT
Comment by JK

Violet what a resounding and remarkable testimony of living out God's word! Hurray for Violet. Hallelujah for all those children as well. Joe you summed it nicely. Sarah thank you and the others for the travel mercies. Our flight was uneventful which is always wonderful! and now I make the driving portion of the trip back home for me. A few automotive "upkeep" issues to deal with for/with my daughter and then I shall be on my way. I hope to beat the rain showers or at least miss as many as possible. God's grace in all and what a true sign of forgiveness and overcoming did Portia exhibit. Tommie and Sarah, I am with you ....I doubt my "evil" and whether it would have occurred to me to take in the children, however, they were/are kin to her own children and obviously she was a wonderful mother to them all. Bravo and praise GOD from whom all blessings flow indeed. Monte enjoy your Jacksonville church friends and family and meeting up with UR folks in FL. I have been in FL a few times over the past several months, but never near any of the locations(at least that I know of) except near Edd in Ocala, but just passing through there with time constraints. Blessings on your meeting up with these folks~how exciting and wonderful for you all.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 05:03AM CDT
Comment by Sandy of Beaver Falls, PA

Always Here to Pray for You & Others.
Have a Blessed Day.
<3 S
I Peter 3:17 NIV
For it is better to suffer for doing good,
 if suffering should be God's will,
than to suffer for doing evil.
+

Posted April 19, 2015 at 05:12AM CDT
Comment by Ed of Carolina Beach, NC

Violet,
WOW, what a true believer your sister is, such forgivness

Posted April 19, 2015 at 05:46AM CDT
Comment by Lois of St Petersburg, FL

Violet,
I will tuck this beautiful story in my heart. I know it will give me with strength to forgive others; when forgiving seems impossible I will remember Portia and her gracious example. Thank you for your bravery in writing this and for blessing others through your words.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 05:52AM CDT
Comment by Lois of St Petersburg, FL

Violet,
I will tuck this beautiful story in my heart. I know it will give me strength to forgive others; when forgiving seems impossible I will remember Portia and her gracious example. Thank you for your bravery in writing this and for blessing others through your words.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 05:54AM CDT
Comment by Judy of Yalaha, FL

Violet, you have touched our hearts. Thank you

Posted April 19, 2015 at 05:54AM CDT
Comment by Edd of Ocala, FL

Great morning to all the UR Family may God bless you all. Praise the Lord!!! Violet thanks for the scripture and your devotional. WOW what an example your SISTER is to us all. May the Lord bless her and all her children. Got to get ready for church. Praying all the UR Family has a blessed day filled with the love and healing only God may provide. God is Love!!! Edd of Ocala, FL.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:03AM CDT
Comment by Matt

Wow, truly Christlike, PTL

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:06AM CDT
Comment by Matt

Adam, I love what you said, "I know You are there for me and I am here for You.." I look out at the flowers and trees listen to the birds & bees. My loved ones (BHG) add life to what I experience. So do we bring joy to The Father. He loves us or as Ed always says, "God is love."

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:14AM CDT
Comment by Matt

Hello Hazel, so good to hear from you. Love & Blessing to all
*
Sarah & others, thank you for your faithful prayers

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:21AM CDT
Comment by raynard of newark, DE

Good Morning U.R Family. Thank you Violet for your devotional and blog.. Nuff said.. Prayers going out to each and every spoken and unspoken request. Be blessed and encouraged everyone and have a great day..

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:26AM CDT
Comment by Don of Ozark, MO

Good morning, my friends. Violet, welcome to the UR family. Thank you for your devotional contribution. Portia is showing her love to ones who most certainly remind her of her former husband and that is the right thing to do. Even though she and her former husband did not get along, she is not letting their bad feelings toward each other cause her to be mean to those who have no part in their differences. Her refusal to carry a grudge against them is remarkable and her taking care of those children is even more so. Tommie, I wish that I could give you better advice on how to deal with your uninvited guests (the squirrels), but perhaps they will move out in the near future now that the weather is getting warmer. I pray that your health continues to improve. Sarah, thank you again for your contribution to the UR family. I continue to pray for you and Lucy and Albert. JK, here's hoping that the the driving portion of your return home is safe. I pray that the Lord will grant you safe passage with good weather. We are execting some heavy thunderstorms around here later today as two weather systems are supposed collide over the central part of the country. There was quite a bit of violent weather in Oklahoma yesterday and pray that all were safe then and will be safe today. I pray that all of us will show the love to those around us that Portia has shown to the children of her former husband. What is past, is past. Let us look to the future with love for everyone, even those who have done us wrong. Praise the Lord!!

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:29AM CDT
Comment by Lorna C. of Evergreen Park, IL

She is blessed and she is a blessing. I loved reading her story.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:35AM CDT
Comment by Dan of Summerfield, NC

Aunt Violet, thank you for your remarkable devotion, and for sharing your own personal struggles with self-esteem in the BLOG. First of all, if you had not grown in your confidence and shared this account of forgiveness, it might have been lost. All I can say beyond this is how great God is: Not only for watching over Portia and her two families through many years of selfless child-rearing, and for His message of forgiveness; but also for the way He worked in your life through the encouragement of your other brothers in sisters in the faith. Praise God!
*
This is up there with what I always considered the model for forgiveness; when Elizabeth Elliott and the other families of the 5 missionaries who were slaughtered in the jungle in the early '50's when their ministry was lethally misunderstood, packed up their families and with God's help, moved directly in with this very tribe. At this moment I hesitate to recall details, though I believe a book and movie on this account was 'Point of the Spear'. Are there any limits for the Good God can do, when He supports the efforts of one of His children? No there aren't. Praise God!

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:46AM CDT
Comment by Mike of Fort Payne, AL

Thanks so much for today's devotion. It proves we can live as Jesus taught. It's nice to read stories that lift and inspire us to be better Christians.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:47AM CDT
Comment by Marilyn of Yukon, OK

Violet your devotional brought tears to my eyes as memories of similar pain surfaced. My husband abandoned me after 29 years causing immeasurable pain not only to me but our grown children. Years later sadly he died...there were no children to raise however. Yet my daughter is very sad that he's no here to celebrate her college graduation and job success...UR family keep looking toward the light.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:53AM CDT
Comment by Willis of Jackson, TN

Good Morning UR Family: VIOLET -- I add my thanks to all the others for your stepping out in faith and becoming a writer and bringing us this story about PORTIA. It is truly what GOD meant when HE said love your neighbor as yourself.
Had a great 4th Day Gathering last night, the Preacher that gave the message before the sacraments was fantastic. What do you think about before you take the bread and wine (the body and blood of CHRIST)? A thought--it should have been me on the cross, HE loved us so much, HE forgives us and HE will return.
Prayers go out to all in need, have a glorious GOD filled day, because it is the day HE made.
GOD IS LOVE!!!

Posted April 19, 2015 at 06:54AM CDT
Comment by Laura

Violet - thank you for this most magnificent devotional and testimony of God's powerful love! Your family is a wonderful example of that - PRAISES!!!
Blessings!!!

Posted April 19, 2015 at 07:01AM CDT
Comment by Linda of West Point, VA

Oh, what a glorious sunny Sunday morning here in Virginia. Violet, what a special person Portia was and I know she will and has been blessed many times over. Monte, glad that you and Carolyn are enjoying your travels, being with family and friends and meeting new friends. I have not check out the sites you have here, but will this afternoon after church. Thank you all for praying for my travels yesterday to the memorial service for a friend, it was a lovely celebration of his life. George, glad you are back home and had good travels, now comes the final countdown to Bethanne's return home. My prayers for all needs of this my cyber family, both spoken and unspoken. "ASK"

Posted April 19, 2015 at 07:08AM CDT
Comment by Marsha of Brownwood, TX

Good morning URF!
Praise God for a new day to worship!
It is a foggy morning, a blessing because we received much needed rain yesterday! Thank you, Jesus!
Thank you URF for your prayers!
Have a blessed day!
Christ lives!

Posted April 19, 2015 at 07:23AM CDT
Comment by Barb of Crown Point, IN

Oh Violet, what a wonderful example of forgiveness and being the hands of God your sister is.
Praying for all requests and those held in the ❤️

Posted April 19, 2015 at 07:32AM CDT
Comment by Heidi of Woodstock, IL

Good morning, thank you Violet for the heartwarming devotional of love and forgiveness.
Lord it is on blended knee as we come to you offering our thanks for the strength you will give
to help us rise again. Amen
Have a blessed day everyone.

Posted April 19, 2015 at 07:44AM CDT
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