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by: Ellene Meece

Browsing through my morning news feeds on the internet, I felt myself tense as the negative banter and callous assertions dominated the scene. The terrorism warnings chilled me. It felt that evil was everywhere and there was nothing I could do to stop it.

Suddenly, I had an idea. Using the hash tag #heartwarming, the entire news feed was transformed into stories that blessed me and made my own heart warm while tears streamed down my cheeks. I felt hope rise within me. I remembered that light was more powerful than darkness.

In my "transformed" news feed, I read about a single mom who had planned a birthday party for her six-year-old son with autism, inviting the entire school class but then posted her disappointment when not one person showed up. Within minutes of her post, the neighborhood families began arriving with gifts and good wishes and in a few more minutes, the local fire department arrived with gifts as well as the local police - giving VIP tours and impressive opportunities for a six year old.

Global News related another story under the category 5 heartwarming and "good news" stories of 2015:
What started as an act of kindness between a B.C. man and a hitchhiker in the Bahamas almost 50 years ago has since been shared around the world. "He picked me up, I was a 22-year-old, long-haired student, of that ilk," Iain Reddish said of Cedric Steele, who now lives on Vancouver Island. "He took me into Nassau and as I was getting out of the car, he put $50 U.S. in my hand." "I thought, "I can't accept this." He said, "Look, I know you're broke. When you're established and grown-up, as it were, it's up to you to pay it back to anyone you can help out down on their luck. That way we'll survive in this world."

Steele said he never thought about the encounter again, but that message stuck with Reddish, who lives in Amsterdam. Since 1968 he's helped dozens of people around the world who are down on their luck, and told the story countless times. He was shocked when one person had already heard of the tale. It had spread all the way to Namibia, Africa.

"It just shows you how an odd bit of kindness can multiply," said Reddish.

One comment on a #heartwarming story read: "One of my goals for 2016 is to go looking for evidence of loving, caring, kind, selfless, and humble people in today's world. Seek and you shall find . . . "

No wonder, Philippians 4:8, Amplified Version, gives this instruction, "Finally, whatever is true, whatever is honorable and worthy of respect, whatever is right and confirmed by God's word, whatever is pure and wholesome, whatever is lovely and brings peace, whatever is admirable and of good repute; if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think continually on these things [center your mind on them, and implant them in your heart]."

Let's pursue, go after and not let go of finding the heartwarming acts of Jesus kindness in our world this year. As Philippians says, let's center our minds on them and implant them in our heart. Share them, retell them and make them our focus. Our very peace and well being depends on it.



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