To Dance with the Lord

All of life is a dance and my partner is Jesus. I must learn to be sensitive to His guidance, to be aware of His moving. If I remember during our time together each morning to lean in close, to inhale deeply the fragrance of His love and Mercy, then His fragrance will linger on me. It will refresh the souls of those around me as they catch the scent. Like a familiar cologne they may not fully recognize for what it is, it should be reminiscent of a home they have not yet known.

Through out the day my mind goes back to our moments shared in the morning and my heart is refreshed as I whisper to myself a reminder that he is closer than the air I breathe, that His throne room is in my heart. Like one of those automated air fresheners, he restores my soul again. Something that I often need, and often before i even realize I need it, as the cares of this world begin to over shadow my ability to see with His eyes and to recognize the opportunities to reach out and be water to the thirsty souls of another.

My dim human eyes often miss the hurting soul next to me, but my Saviour sees. He opens my eyes to all the opportunity to be His hands and feet. If I am not paying close attention throughout my day to my partner I may miss a step. I need Him every hour, no every minute… There are so many hurting hearts! I don’t want to miss even one chance to do His work, to love the lost.

Church, we need to wake up from our slumber!! Some of us are guilty of allowing our legalism, our religiosity, our rule following to blind us to the truth of the gospel. That we were all lost and blind and that is by the grace of God alone that we were saved and not the work of our own hands. We allow ourselves to become judgemental and press our rules onto others. No one is ever going to care about how much we know, until we are willing to show them how much we care first. Bringing them into accordance with God’s will is NOT our job. Our job is to pray for them, love them, and when God leads teach them the Word of God.

Others are so caught up in their own relationship with God, with their own reading and studying that they are no real earthly good the to world around them. We must remove our stained glass eyewear and see the hurting the world around us. Leave our comfort zone and go to the people who are hurting. We are blessed, so that we can be a blessing!

This thanksgiving season, let us reach out to those who are in need and just love on them.

From the inside out

As we delve into the word of God, the holy spirit will change us. These changes will happen as God changes how we see the world. Often, our biggest changes can be felt within, long before they can be seen. We will begin to feel a paradigm shift internally, long before our actions fully follow with our new line of thinking. These changes our going to be the ones that are most authentic. As the word of God takes root everything about our worldview will change, these new principles will work their way out into practices. Anyone can decide to act different and condition themselves to do it, but over time they will revert to their previous self, because only change that begins on the inside is a real and substantial change that will stand the test of time.

Romans 12:2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The first step to real change is the renewing of our minds! Our outward actions must reflect our inner thoughts and attitudes or we are fake. Authenticity will go a long way. Jesus Christ is the way, the truth and the life and I am thankful to him that he is alive and relational and that he meets me where I am to make me like him. The path to change is always through Jesus, but we are all coming from different places, while our end point is the same (to be like Jesus) our beginning is not. Keep this in mind when you meet people. You don’t know what God is doing in the depth of their soul.

God is changing them the same way that He is changing you. One precept at a time. Some are just starting out, others are further along the road, and none of us will get there until we have gone home to be with Jesus in heaven. Lord, help me to see others as you do. Help me to love them as you do and to be more aware of the changes I need to make than the changes my fellow sojourners need to make. Change me, Lord as I dive deeper into your word!

A few post 9-11 thoughts

On this eleventh anniversary of the 9-11 I am contemplating diversity. Remember how most people you encountered were a little bit friendlier to those around them after this atrocity happened? For a few minutes we all became more tolerant of one another. Sad that it took a great tragedy to make it happen and that it only lasted a few days.

God made all of us. We are all family and we should treat each other that way. We should get to know someone who is nothing like us and maybe we can discover that we have more in common with each other than we can even imagine. We can not look at the people around us and see race or creed; we must see them as humans with value.

At a concert I recently attended, the passed out candles. The sight was amazing, the candles started to be passed and then after a minute the first one was lit, as each person received the flame you could see them look around to find someone who didn’t have it, they couldn’t wait to share. I saw the light and became anxious to have my candle lit and like those before me, couldn’t wait to share the fire. As about half of us had our flame, I could hear the music become lower and the words spoken, “there are two types of people in this world, those who have the flame and those who are waiting to receive it”. Awesome! What a beautiful picture of how God’s Holy Spirit lights a fire in us! Remember when you first came into contact with the Spirit? Didn’t you want to share that flame? We are all children of one God and all in need of allow Jesus Christ to become our propitiation, or covering, for our sins. Is your flame lit? If it is, you will want to share that flame that others may know the love and grace of our father.

Or, is your flame smoldering? Was it once lit but now you are not so sure? If so, I have great news! Jesus will not break off that smoldering wick. Mathew 12:20 tells that “A battered reed he will not break off, a smoldering wick he will not put out until he leads justice to victory” Fall on your face before the holy spirit, He will relight that flame so, that you can be a light to those who are within your circle of influence. One soul, one light at a time WE CAN CHANGE THIS WORLD!

I guess I apologize for the rant here. My intent was to start looking at how we change our world through our politics. With election time here, I still feel it is something I need to look at, but today, this was the message that was on my heart. I know many have already heard the phrase “each one, reach one”, but today I am overwhelmed that we have so many who are lost and dying around us. The burden on my heart for them is great our God is gracious and merciful, but the TRUTH is that Hell is a real place and there are people headed there. We need to be praying and asking God to use us in the lives of those around us.

Reflecting him our attitudes even when reality strikes

Having a Godly attitude toward others is easy when they are like minded. It becomes increasingly difficult when they are very different.  The reality of having a good attitude in difficult situations has shown up recently, I have had some true testing to this.

The first one,  was with a friend of my daughter. This girl is very nice, but sometimes I suspect that she is not being forthcoming. I don’t really want my daughter spending a lot of time with someone who chooses to be dishonest, yet at the same time  we can provide opportunities for this girl to be reached by the gospel. At the end of the day, I talked to my daughter about honesty and let her choose if she can trust this girl.  Thus far there has been no harm done and I am monitoring the situation with a great hope that she can come to know the Lord in a real and personal way.

As if this wasn’t already hard,my son has a friend who seems open to going to going to church with us. We have had him hang out with our family on several occasions; however, recently,  I discovered that this young man is doing drugs!  That is taking it just too far.  God made him, he is as inherently valuable as anyone else, but how do I let my sixteen year old son spend time with someone who is likely to pressure him to do things that are not only a terrible idea, but also illegal?  to be completely honest, I failed to treat this guy respectfully.  I found out he offered my son drugs and told him in no uncertain terms that he was not welcome here, I am praying that God will help me to see him as the captive that he is and I will be praying for him that God will open the eyes of his heart. Some day, if I have reason to believe that God has answered this prayer I see no reason why he can not again be friends with my son, but for now that simply cannot be. I am praying for wisdom and discernment that God will help me to better know how to  deal with these situations when the free will that other people have negatively affects my family.  It is hard to know what Jesus would do sometimes.

The most difficult by far came in yesterday.  A family member called me and asked what they should do regarding a young man who  had attempted to commit a violent crime against her son. The young man who did this is clearly mentally ill, possible mentally slow, but also very dangerous.  He attempted to force sexual contact with someone.  I find myself painfully confused. Had he not been thwarted by another man entering the restroom where this crime was to be committed, well his intentions were clear, but will he get help in prison?  Can he even be helped by anyone but God?  They say that rapists and pedophiles can not be cured. My gut tells me that this is not a a time for mercy, God is a God of justice as well as mercy and this is not the first time this kid has done this. I told the  family member I needed to pray about it, but have sine come to the conclusion that God is his only hope to not hurt someone else and charges ought to be filed. The greatest difficulty though is that the intended victim may not be equipped to handle all that happens in trial, especially of this nature.  Will this process do more harm than good?

The point to all of this is that we must draw near to God, listen for His voice and be prepared to do even the hard things with love and respect for God and for our fellow man.  Clearly, God is trying to teach me how to love my enemy.   No one ever said this Christianity stuff was going to be easy.  Putting a face to my “enemy” has made it impossible, that God it is not I, but Christ who lives.  Through Him I can do all things.