Sunday, March 25, 2012

Pointing Fingers?

No one blamed Judas….. How odd. We don’t read of a single soul pointing a finger at him for this hateful betrayal. When Jesus was betrayed by Judas there in the Garden of Gethsemane, His disciples were there with Him, Peter even cutting off the ear of the high priest’s servant. They saw that it was Judas that betrayed Him, yet we never hear of any of the disciples condemning him for doing so, or gossiping amongst themselves over how he’d done it.
No one accuses Peter for denying Jesus, either. Jesus plainly said it in front of all the disciples there at dinner, that Peter would deny knowing Him three times before the cock crowed the next morning.
Maybe they were all ashamed of themselves for scattering the night the soldiers took their Jesus away. Or did they feel the guilt of not having stood up for Him when He was accused by Jewish leaders? When Pilate himself washed his hands of Jesus’ fate, did they watch from behind pillars, wanting to cry out and run to His rescue?
Oftentimes when we feel guilt and shame over our sin and fears, we point fingers at others around us, to take the focus off of ourselves. If someone else looks small, we feel bigger. Instead of lifting each other up, we often kick our brothers and sisters when they’re down.
The disciples didn’t do that.
No, there wasn’t any dissention amongst the ranks at all. The Disciples of Christ loved each other as He’d commanded them……………………just as He commands us.

Friday, March 23, 2012

Bigger, Better Buts

In January I wrote of getting rid of our buts –a great post (read it here), I thought. The other day, however, I realized that I like some big buts, and I cannot lie!

In the King James Version of the Bible I found this reason to stop and take notice 43 times, 61 times in the New International Version.
“But God…”
Some of my favorites are:
Psalm 73:26 – “My flesh and my heart faileth: but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.”
Romans 5:8But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.”
1 Corinthians 1:27 “But God hath chosen the foolish things of the world to confound the wise; and God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty;”
1 Corinthians 2:9-10 “But as it is written, Eye hath not seen, nor ear heard, neither have entered into the heart of man, the things which God hath prepared for them that love him. But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.”
1 Corinthians 15:37-38 And that which thou sowest, thou sowest not that body that shall be, but bare grain, it may chance of wheat, or of some other grain: But God giveth it a body as it hath pleased him, and to every seed his own body.”
Galatians 3:18 “For if the inheritance be of the law, it is no more of promise: but God gave it to Abraham by promise."
Ephesians 2:4-5 “But God, who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, Even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;)”

1 Thessalonians 4:8 "He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us his holy Spirit.”

Sunday, March 18, 2012

We Are Precious In His Sight.....

We don’t judge a pillow by the pretty case it’s tucked into. No, we hold it; we notice how it feels in our arms, snuggled under our head.
So why do we tend to judge each other by the flesh that encases who we are? We are spirits, with souls (mind, will and emotion), wrapped in a body.
Maybe, just maybe, if we took the same care in looking past the pillowcase to choose the pillow that will allow us rest and bring us peace, to look into each other, perhaps peace and rest would prevail in our hearts and lives.
All sorts of divisions exist because we look at the shell that contains us, rather than the common spirit we share. Hatred rears its ugly head over race or gender or wealth or beauty. We take offense because someone looks or behaves differently than we do. Why do some of us insist that we’re better than others? Quite seriously, I couldn’t handle a world full of Helens that look and behave just as I do.
We all received life from God the creator of everything. He didn’t create one to be loved more, or one to be despised. We’re simply encased differently – equipped with varying gifts with which we can edify each other – but instead, choose to turn everything into a competition and are driven to come out on top.
You’re a part of me – and I’m a part of you. We are part of a much bigger picture. We make it “all about me” when we fail to look for that bigger picture, and we miss out on some of the very best things in life.
We were created for intimacy, with each other and with God Himself.
Intimacy – into-me-see! Just do it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

More Questioning?

How did we get to where we are?

Do I really get to choose what to believe? Or do life’s circumstances dictate what and whom I trust? Does what I was taught is true hold fast all my life? Do events that occur around me or to me shape what I perceive as truth? Do I get to select the path I’ll take in life? What influences my choices?

Of all the minds in the world – you (questions) have to walk into mine.
For me personally, all of creation resounds with a chorus of, “Yes, Helen – there is a God!” I was taught that God is God and that He is good, all the time. But events and circumstances show up on the path I’ve chosen and beg me to question. I question why God does or allows the things that go on around me. I question how His “on time” sometimes appears to be “too late” or “too little”. I question why I question. It seems like it would be simpler to just believe what we’re told. But to some extent, we all question.
When I told my young son, “The iron is hot, don’t touch it,” something in him compelled him to find out for himself. Nope – mom didn’t lie, or was it that he needed to know for himself what hot was, or how it applied to something that was never in the oven? I don’t believe our questions are shallow at all, but actually have layers and layers of investigative efforts behind them. When I told that same son that Crisco is not frosting, again, he had to taste to believe. (By the way, again I was correct.)
Repetition teaches us. When we experience the same outcome over and over again, we begin to trust that it’s the outcome we will always get… until we experience something different. Then we begin to question the outcomes we had up to that point. And rightfully! We begin to investigate what made this outcome different. A chair that’s faithfully held us at the dinner table until now becomes suspect: did it let me down because it wasn’t built correctly twenty years ago or because over time it’s taken a beating and needs repair, or because I’ve gradually gained fifty pounds? (No, a chair did not really collapse beneath me.) Would it be logical to say that the chair never really did support me?

To question, or not to question – this is my question!
Come now, and let us reason together, saith the LORD: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. –Isaiah 1:18 (KJV emphasis mine.)

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Look At Their Faces

Everywhere I look I see beautiful faces I want to reach out and caress, and bald heads I want to kiss! I see tears I want to wipe; frustrations and fears I want to extract – as if using a Vulcan mind meld, but with one hand on another’s face or shoulder or hand.
How much more do we restrain Christ from reaching into our hearts and healing us and delivering us of all that holds us back and drains our joy? If simple cultural protocol compels me to keep my hands to myself, how much less do we allow God to touch us; to reveal Himself to us? We morph our own culture, so is this self-sabotage? Yet, these beautiful faces, often wearing tears or artificial smiles, call to me; the very heart behind the face calls out to love and be loved.
I really don’t think the people that surround me daily have a clue how beautiful they are. Sometimes I just break the rules and tell them. So far I’ve never had anyone recoil and look at me like I’m a freak. The usual response is a smile, though sometimes hesitant, and a thank-you. Occasionally I’ll walk up to a man and tell him he has the prettiest woman in the place with him. He’ll usually look at her and smile and say something like, “Yes, I do,” which then makes her smile.

It’s so easy to get smiles going….. Pass a few along today, they really are contagious, as well as healing.

God bless you and keep you, God smile on you and gift you, God look you full in the face and make you prosper. Numbers 6:24-26 (The Message Bible)

Monday, March 5, 2012

Did You Have a Fuzzy-Haired Doll?

Yesterday morning in church I sat two rows behind a woman I see weekly. I don’t know her, but I can’t help noticing the “fuzzy” look to her hair – like that of a baby doll that’s been loved on a little too much, one that’s been held, slept with, played with, one who’s hair has been brushed and shampooed repeatedly. Immediately my mind went to the picture of a young girl holding her favorite doll, stroking its hair, smiling at her with a reassuring look that said no harm would come to her and she’d never abandon her for a newer, flashier toy.

The woman’s smile always catches my attention. There’s something special about it; smiles sometimes betray our heart. I’m never quite sure what’s just beyond the curl of her lips, it could be the extremely happy heart of God’s Princess that is loved beyond measure; her silent testimony of His love. It could be her expression to say, “Hello, I’d love to be your friend.” It could be the face she wants us to see instead of the one with tear stained cheeks and bloodshot eyes from personal sorrows. Sunday morning I found myself wanting to approach her and feel her hair, to smooth in with my own hand, like she was my own little girl, as I believe God does every day.

Can she be loved too much? No. But I want to know her, simply because Jesus does, and He loves her every minute of every hour of every day, just as He loves me.

Keeping my hands to myself, I’ve purposed in my heart – that next Sunday morning I’ll meet her face to face, smile to smile.

“When I smiled at them, they scarcely believed it; the light of my face was precious to them.” ~ Job 29:24 (NIV)