Saturday, January 26, 2008

Paying back to others what has been given to us...

I received this in an email, and thought it would make for an interesting post...enjoy and be blessed!

A few years ago a group of Salesmen went to a regional sales convention in Chicago. They had assured their wives that they would be Home in plenty of time for Friday night's dinner. In Their rush, with tickets and briefcases, one of these salesmen Inadvertently kicked over a table which held a display of Apples. Apples flew everywhere. Without stopping or looking Back, they all managed to reach the plane in time for their Nearly missed boarding. ALL BUT ONE! He paused, took a deep breath, got in Touch with his feelings, and experienced a twinge of Compassion for the girl whose apple stand had been Overturned. He told his buddies to go on without him, waved good-bye, Told one of them to call his wife when they arrived at their Home destination and explain his taking a later flight. Then He returned to the terminal where the apples were all over the Terminal floor. He was glad he did. The 16 year old girl was totally blind! She was softly crying, Tears running down her cheeks in frustration, and at The same time helplessly groping for her spilled produce as the Crowd swirled about her, no one stopping and no one to care For her plight. The salesman knelt on the floor with her, gathered up the apples, Put them back on the table and helped organize her display. As He did this, he noticed that many of them had become battered And bruised; these he set aside in another basket. When he had finished, he pulled out his wallet and said to the Girl, "Here, please take this $40 for the damage we did. Are you okay?" She nodded through her tears. He continued on with, "I hope we Didn't spoil your day too badly." As the salesman started to walk away, the bewildered blind girl Called out to him, "Mister...." He paused and turned to look back Into those blind eyes. She continued, "Are you Jesus?" He stopped in mid-stride, and he wondered. Then slowly he Made his way to catch the later flight with that question Burning and bouncing about in his soul: "Are you Jesus?" Do people mistake you for Jesus? That's our destiny, is it not? To be so much like Jesus that people cannot tell the Difference as we live and interact with a world that is blind to His love, life and grace. If we claim to know Him, we should live, walk and act as He Would. Knowing Him is more than simply quoting Scripture and Going to church. It's actually living the Word as life unfolds Day to day. You are the apple of His eye even though we, too, have been Bruised by a fall. He stopped what He was doing and picked you and me up On a hill called Calvary And paid in full for our damaged fruit. Sometimes we just take things for granted, When we really need to be sharing what we know...

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Mirror of Relationships

"Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves."

- Carl Jung

There have been many times in my relationships with others that I have found this quote to be true. This is the basic idea called “the mirror of relationships”. This idea comes down to seeing what we don’t like about ourselves in another person, and the unwillingness to accept that this is part of who we are. It is difficult to accept the intolerable parts of ourselves without projecting those parts onto others as part of their flaws. When we are angry with someone or irritated at him or her, we don’t want to see them as a “mirror” and accept that this emotion is telling us something about ourselves. By attributing these traits that we do not like about ourselves onto whomever we are in a relationship with, we take the responsibility of these emotions off of ourselves.

Once I realized this idea, I was able to come to a place of forgiveness for those whom I was angry with. I became more accepting of others faults, because I realized that many of the things that I didn’t like about those I was angry with were the very same traits that I hated about myself.

"Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God." - Romans 15:7

Friday, January 18, 2008

The Rolling Waves of Predictability, The Flowing River of Life

Why doesn’t God allow us to lead a predicable life? This is of course a rhetorical question, but one that I have pondered over many times. I want a structured, stable, predicable life. But, as usual, God’s will isn’t in line with my own. I have found that throughout various stages of my life, that God has allowed me to suffer through “trial by fire”, many through my own making, because I am being refined. And even though I know that He is always there, I still fight the temptation to want to control my own life and create my own stability and find my comfort in human form. For me, the fear of unpredictability is the fear of losing control. But what control do I, we, ever really have to begin with? It is the idea that we have created in our own minds and a seed of deception that Satan plants within us. Many of us are afraid of extremes; we are afraid of chance and afraid of risk. But many times, with risk comes reward. As Christians, we have to take risks on leaps of faith. Our patterns of thinking sometimes don’t leave room for the Spirit of God to flow. If we resist the things that we perceive as uncomfortable, then we may be resisting the initial push that God is trying to create within in us to get us out of our comfort zones and into the delights and comforts of the River of Life that HE has given and away from the rolling waves of predictability.

One thing is certain, LIFE IS NOT PREDICTABLE, BUT GOD IS CONSISTENT. “For I am the Lord, I do not change” Malachi 3:6 He may not always answer prayers in the manner to which WE want, but He knows what is best for us, and He answers them according to His plan for our lives. God has taken some ordinary people in the Bible through some extraordinary and trying experiences and turned them into incredible leaders, simply because they believed in what HE was doing. This is difficult for many people to do today, including myself. Amidst all the changes that occur in our own lives and in the word, He is a never-changing God in an ever-changing world.

"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever." - Hebrews 13:8

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Celebrity Rehab

Celebrities in rehab; it has become a common mockery of a real problem that millions of people face today, addiction. There is a new “reality” show called, “Celebrity Rehab”, that I found disappointing to put it mildly. It was rather difficult to watch, and ultimately very sad. Here’s a partial description from what the producers tell about the show,

“'Celebrity Rehab' is the first television series to chronicle the dramatic, unscripted real life experiences of a group of actual celebrities as they make the life-changing decision to enter themselves into a drug, alcohol and addiction treatment program with the sincere desire to achieve true rehabilitation and recovery…At every step in this challenging process, viewers at home will witness the real true life struggles of these celebrity patients, who ultimately appear in their sincerest human form as regular people in need of a helping hand and earnestly striving for recovery, health and future happiness.”

This show in my opinion is nothing more than a heartbreaking exploitation of a problem, a sin, which haunts so many people, these people included throughout the world. Now, there has only been one episode to watch so far, but I can’t help but wonder if there will be any mention of Christ, God or the redemptive power of His forgiveness during this show? Most often times they mention a “higher power” during recovery, but who that higher power may be is left up to interpretation. There is only one way out of this problem, Jesus Christ. “…I am the way, the truth, and the life…” John 14:6. I will not discount that it is possible that these celebrities can come out of this thing clean and sober, but clean and recovered are two completely different things. It is a change in lifestyle and a change of mindset. Many of these celebrities that have done stints in rehab end up back on the same path because they never address the true root of the problem. It all begins in the mind. If you don’t address this problem, and you don’t accept the WAY out, Christ, then you will fall back on your face time and time again. This is seen so many times in Hollywood, and not only there but in those outside of the spotlight. We will see what this show will entail…I pray that no matter how “unscripted” it may be, that God will have His hand in each one of His children’s lives.

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Actions vs. Words

At the beginning of the year many people make resolutions. They “resolve” to change things. Things about their life: weight, money habits, health, spiritual growth, the list goes on and on. But how often do these resolutions get thrown to the curb because they were really only lip service to begin with? Perhaps they really were made with the right intentions, I know that I’ve made my fair share year after year, but why is it so much easier to give lip service than to put words into action? There are many things that could answer this question, but the big one that stands out in my mind is the fear of failure. This is definitely the case for me. The fear of failure is a true paradox. From a Christian standpoint, when you live your life with fear, you have already failed. You have failed yourself, potentially failed others that you may have helped, and certainly failed GOD. The idea of action is scary for some people because of this very idea. Lip service is natural, it is talking. Most of us have things that we want to accomplish, relationships we want to cultivate, things about ourselves we want to change, but all of these things take work, they take discipline, they take faith. James 2:26 says, “For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.” Our faith without comparable action is dead and devoid of life. Mark Twain said, “Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often”. How so very true this is. Once a person says they are going to do something and continuously fail to follow through with those actions, mistrust is formed and that relationship suffers. Or if a person tells their spouse that they love them but fails to show that love, then the words mean nothing. It seems like a simple, almost silly statement, but I have found it to be true in my life…Words really are meaningless unless there are actions behind them to support what you mean. Sometimes it may be difficult to follow through things that you say you want to do because of fear, but remember "In God I have put my trust, I shall not be afraid. What can man do to me?"Psalm 56:11