Do Unto Others?

November 28, 2011

When we seek to discover the best in others, we somehow bring out the best in ourselves.

- William Arthur Ward -

 

Wow, that quote really says it all.  Don’t believe it?  Try it!  The author of the quote isn’t suggesting that we seek the best in them for the reward we may feel we are due in return.  Life doesn’t work that way.  Putting ourselves first so often leads to disappointment, yet putting our faith in the Lord and our love for Him and His people in a place of importance in our lives can change lives in the most amazing ways . . . if we are willing to do so.  It can set you free!  Why?

 

Why is this quote so life-giving and life changing?  For me, when I seek Christ in others, I find Him.  It’s as simple as that.  When I look to Him and follow Him, I am blessed!  The joy and delight which results from being in His radiant presence is unmatchable and any darkness in my life is replaced by His light.  It’s as simple as that.  How often, though, have I missed this as I grumbled and stressed and moaned . . .  when the answer was within me as well as completely surrounding me like a loving embrace! 

 


What Are YOUR Values?

November 25, 2011

What we show the world when we aren’t aware that anyone’s looking is what we truly value.  It’s not about performing for an audience.  It’s not about saying the “right thing” because we want to impress.  It’s about who we truly and authentically are.  When people look at you, what values do they see?

 

Colossians 3:17

 

And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.


Longfellow Had It Backward!

November 25, 2011

Give what you have. To someone, it may be better than you dare to think.

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow –

 

My life seems to be the sort that causes people to assume I need free advice and I’m often reminded that sometimes free advice is worth what you pay for it.  Not always, I assure you, but often . . . so there’s the Longfellow quote.   He urges us to look at our blessings for the very blessings that they are and this quote reminds me of Mom speaking of “starving children” elsewhere when I reacted with disdain at having been served canned peas.  Didn’t like them and still I do not like canned peas.  But this isn’t about canned peas.  This is also not about Longfellow, whom I admire, nor is it about unappreciated blessings in my life.  It’s about attitude.

 

You see, I can indeed see many blessings in my life.  The Lord has touched my heart in amazing ways.  I feel so thankful for this.  There is a gaping hole still not patched up which makes me sometimes wonder and even tremble.  Still, His hand is so much upon me in so many ways I know He’s with me.  He adds sparkle to my world just to make me smile and so I know He’s not going to forsake me when it comes to the “big” thing that’s still an unmet need.  Like all the self-proclaimed experts who throw cold water on my faith and point out obvious (to them) flaws in it, I also know there’s a question of “but how are you going to manage” and yet the answer in my heart, my soul and yes even my mind is always “He is in control.” 

 

As to the quote above, I am in favor of sharing blessings, and not because I do not appreciate them and thus wish to hand them off, but because I know how valuable they are and wish to spread them around.  If you are my friend and you really know and care about me, pray for me.  Pray with me.  Don’t try to rob me of my faith.  I will share it, but I will not abandon it.   It’s far too important to me.  It’s something I’m willing to die for.


Even Van Gogh

November 18, 2011

How can I be useful, of what service can I be? There is something inside me, what can it be?

- Vincent Van Gogh

It seems to me that in many ways, we  all face the same “monsters under the bed.”  The difference is that some of us are willing to face them, others choose not to,  and still others seek to pass the burden onto someone else.  Avoiding the monsters will never work because there are so many . . . we simply must learn to tame them for ourselves. 

Did Van Gogh really discover what was inside him, or did he simply learn to live in peace with the uncertainty?  I think that’s what he did, but look at what else he did!  Life is an art!  


Praise Him

November 17, 2011

My heart sees things in ways my eyes do not.  I’m thankful for this, especially since my eye sight is somewhat failing.  However, even if my eyes were 20/20, the human factor would still cause challenges.  My heart and soul can be convincing though.  It’s a good thing, when i surrender and see things His way.

Perhaps this is what made me see a portion of an ad for some product or service and misread it.  What a saw was the following:

“Praise in a world that isn’t . . . “

I cannot and will not speak for the whole world, but as for me, I know that as a Christian, I’m taught to praise the Lord at all times and in all places and to surrender to Him.  I know as well that the Bible very clearly puts praise above all else and our Lord loves us so that it pains me to realize that I am not always focused on praise as I should be.   One thing is for certain.  When i focus on Him with praise and thanksgiving, my eyes as well as my heart and soul see things in a totally different light.  They see things in His light. 


Re-Created

November 17, 2011

True change isn’t willful. It’s so fluent and intuitive that we don’t even realize it happened.

- Garrett Kramer

The hand of God

 

 


Communion Whine?

November 16, 2011

 

Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

– Psalm 119:18

  Trouble and distress have come upon me, but your commands give me delight.

– Psalm 119:143

 The two quotes above bring me comfort.  Comfort is a great thing.  It’s funny though.  We often seem to go through periods in life when we actually seem opposed to comfort as though to accept it is to admit to weakness and to surrender our own power.  To me, that part about “surrendering” is something that takes much courage, faith, and trust.  It takes a strong person and a strong commitment to surrender to the power and the rules of another.  Admittedly, we’ve all very likely been hurt or disappointed by some we’ve trusted in the past.  However, trusting in the Lord ultimately does not disappoint.  True, while we learn from Him and come to understand His methods and His plan, we might find our human weakness rising to the top, but hopefully our faith grows stronger and we find ourselves able to, with increasing faith, realize that not only do His commands give us delight, but that it is His intent to do so!  He delights in us!

Sadly, speaking for myself, I too often find I’m weaker than I should be in the “wrong” ways and don’t always learn as quickly of the strength in weakness of another sort – the weakness that is my ultimate surrender to my loving Lord who delights in me and desires all the best for me if I would simply let Him take all of me.  If I’d just quit whining sooner than I so often do, I would so much sooner realize the “wonderful things” the Psalmist speaks of in the verse above.   Being human is a learning curve that never really ceases this side of heaven.  I realized this once or twice recently as I felt the Holy Spirit simply flooding over me, around me, and through me at church only to find that once I stepped into the church parking lot I felt cold water being dumped on me instead.  Oh, the splendor of being in the company of other Christians in communion at church – the body of Christ together can do so much as we seek to find our individual special gifts and work together.  Sadly, sometimes this resolve drops off on the way out the door into the car.  Why is this?

I don’t think any of us really intend to fail.  I don’t even like the word fail.  Fail sounds so permanent and for a Christian our faults are not permanent.  Jesus died on the cross to save us from our sin, our faults, and so we simply need to repent and reach out to Him.  It’s a let down when stepping into the parking lot of the church finds us leaving the Kingdom of God and entering a space where He is less often invited.  It seems all too quickly that tempers rupture, compassion evaporates, and we suddenly see all of our faults in ourselves and one another once we’re in the church parking lot when just moments before we were sharing the body and blood of Christ together and seeking His face in all around us.  So, I am challenging myself to seek His face more often than I do.  I know that trouble and distress will always be near, but if I can just grow stronger in faith, I know He will enable me to take delight in His commands and it is His delight I hunger to reflect on the world. 

The people walking in darkness have seen a great light; on those living in the land of the shadow of death a light has dawned.

– Isaiah 9:1-3

 


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