Monday, October 22, 2012

Breaking the Stereotype

Jesus replied, "Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.  This is the first and greatest commandment.  And the second is like it: 'Love your neighbor as yourself.' All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments."-Matthew 22:37-40

Unfortunately, many stereotype us as a bunch of judgemental people that shake their fingers in the faces of sinners telling them to repent or they'll be condemned.  They see us as tediously ramming the gospel down their throats, arguing about fine points of doctrine.  They imagine us as sour people who don't have any fun.  Some think that Christianity means following a bunch of archaic rules.  Some think we see them as bad people and that we turn up our noses at them.

But...we are all sinners, saved by grace!  How can we shake our fingers at people who are the same as ourselves?  The only difference is that we have received  the wonderful gift of grace.  As we grow in the Lord, our lives begin to change because we want to please him.  From faith comes good works.
As for sour?  We should be full of peace and joy through the Spirit.   We should light up every room we walk into.  What good does it do to argue?  Our greatest testimony is not our words.  It's our life and the way we live it. We should shine the light that is within us wherever we go.  We should be the people that others want to be around.
And as Christians, we shouldn't judge the world:
Do not judge, of you too will be judged. For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.-Matthew 7:1-2

As Christians, our first and foremost calling is to love.  How much more people will want to come unto a loving Father than a misperception of God as an angry, judgemental tyrant.  Jesus, who is God in the flesh, said:
"A new command I give you: Love one another.  As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another."-John 13:34

Our lives are the greatest testimony of what we believe.  When we interact with people, our guiding principle should always be to treat them as Jesus did.  When people see us living this way, it will attract them like moths to a flame.  This world is full of lost, hurting, lonely people, so let's love them into the kingdom and break the stereotype that the world has!

Father, I pray that the lost and hurting world we live in will see the love that you've put in our hearts and come to you.

Wishing all of you blessings.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Make me a Fisherman


If my body were strong I would dance for you      
If I had a sweet voice I would lift it up to sing        
But all I have are simple words on a page                
I wish I had more to bring                                  

So would you make me a fisher of men?            
A harvester in your field?
I just want my life to please you
So all my heart, to you, I yield

Please pour out your Spirit fresh and new         
Give us your strength each and every day            
And as we kneel before you, would you
Reveal yourself when we seek and pray

Give me words that encourage                                          
That show your compassion and grace      
Until the day finally comes
When I've finished this long, long race

Please bless those that come here
And answer the questions they ask
Please bless the workers everywhere
As they tackle their every task

Father, bless and keep us
Safe in every way
Draw us closer to you
Every single day

May the Father bless you in everything :)

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Soaring like an eagle

How wonderful it is to be home!  I've been caring for my ill family member in her home since her discharge from the hospital in September.  She's regained the ability now to walk, so here I am. It's a great joy to sit again in front of my computer and speak with all of you.  I'm sure many of you have been in this situation; as we enter our middle years, our parents and others are entering into their final ones, and we must care for them as they cared for us.  I thank my Father for the strength of spirit that it takes to hang in day after day and often sleepless night.

Here's some of what I've learned:
When I come to the end of what I think I can do, One who is stronger lifts me up.

He gives strength to the weary and increases the power of the weak.  Even youths grow tired and weary, and young men stumble and fall; but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength.  They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.- Isaiah 40:29:31

How do we have strength in him? How does he make us soar?
I find it in prayer.  When we seek him with all our hearts, he fills us.  When we pour out our sorrow, I know he hears.  His peace floods my heart, and I know it is Him.  This is the same for all of us.
We find it in his written word.  It tells us how much he loves us:

How great is the love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God!  And that is what we are!- 1John 3:1
We know and rely on the love God has for us.  God is love.  Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him.- 1John:4:16
And one of my all time favorites:
Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?  As it is written: "For your sake we face death all day long; we are considered as sheep to be slaughtered."(Psalm 44:22)  No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us.  For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.-Romans 8:35-39

His love and grace is more than enough.  Even in the most difficult of circumstances, he is there, in the midst of the storm to keep my head above the water.  And because of this, I have no fear of the days to come.  As he carries me now, he will carry me then.

And he loves you, too, no matter what you may be going through; whether you have strayed or walk with him daily, he is always as close as a prayer.

Wishing you great blessings!