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Hidden Power in the Word Intentional
The word intentional presents a challenge. Jesus was intentional about His acts of kindness. Applied intentionally, this word can change our lives.

The word intentional has become a key word in my vocabulary. For me, it implies deliberate, thoughtful action in every aspect of life. One of those areas is physical well-being.

Focused effort produces results.

A year ago I learned that my body can't properly metabolize wheat and dairy products. By becoming intentional about following a recommended diet, I found freedom from debilitating pain and lost more than 20 pounds. In order to become more physically fit, I also became intentional about exercise and began working out at a women's fitness centre several days each week. Focused effort produces results.

The same is true for spiritual health.

Several years ago, I struggled to find time for regular Bible reading and prayer so I asked God to wake me when He wanted to meet with me each morning. The next day…and the next…and the next, I woke at 5:15. This has since become my favorite time of day, and it's a precious time indeed as the Holy Spirit shows me truth from God's Word and teaches me how to apply it to real life.

With the dawn of 2010, I believe the word intentional presents me with a new challenge.

To give you background, my Christmas highlight was attending the mission conference, Urbana '09 in St. Louis, Missouri. An Urbana speaker addressed the word intentional beautifully through the story of Jesus and the Samaritan woman (see John 4).

This woman – despised for her ethnicity and gender – was empty and broken, rejected, and hungry for love. Everyone in her neighborhood avoided her. But one day Jesus showed up, and everything changed.

Jesus' meeting the Samaritan woman was not coincidental. He knew she needed love and healing, and He took deliberate action to see her needs fulfilled. Rather than skirt Samaria to avoid the ethnic outcasts, He entered the woman's space to meet her. That's intentionality at its height, rooted in love for the woman's well-being.

Every day we cross paths with people whose lives are hurting and broken, people hungry for love and acceptance. Do we consider them a nuisance? An inconvenience? Do we avoid them because they make us feel uncomfortable? Or do we take deliberate action to bless them, to show love, and to splash them with the living water?

This year, I resolve – with God's help – to be intentional about loving other people as Jesus did. That might happen through words aptly spoken; it might be through acts of kindness. Opportunities are endless, and they're often simple.

Today, for example, I baked banana-chocolate chip muffins for a neighbor who left a Christmas card and bottle of wine on our doorstep ten days ago. I don't really know this gal – we've only chatted twice since we moved here two years ago. Surprise registered on her face when she opened her door and saw me standing there, plate in hand. I thanked her for her kindness, gave her the muffins, and asked if she'd had a nice Christmas.

“Oh yes,” she said. “It was lovely.” That was it. She stepped back inside, smiled, and closed the door. Not exactly what I'd expected, but that's okay. I'll keep my eyes open for future opportunities to show kindness and see where it leads.

What does the word intentional mean to you? How might your life change if you applied it in various areas? Let's resolve together – with God's help – to be intentional and see what happens. Focused effort produces results!

Grace Fox lives in Abbotsford, B.C. She and her husband direct International Messengers Canada, an organization that offers creative short-term and career ministry opportunities in Eastern Europe. The mother of three children, Grace has chronicled her journey of trust in three devotional books entitled 10-Minute Time Outs for Moms; 10-Minute Time Outs for Busy Women; 10-Minute Time Outs for You & Your Kids and also her latest, Moving from Fear to Freedom. Her website is:

Originally published in the newsletter,Growing with Grace, January 2010.

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