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Perfection

Titus 3:4-7 – “But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”

I saw a sign today for a church body that said “No perfect people allowed”. I have mixed feelings on this. 

On one hand, I’m thinking “that’s fabulous!”  Sometimes I think non-church goers make excuses in their head for not going to church because they have the perception that churches are filled with people who think they are better than everyone else. Well, not mine! We all know we are sinners saved by grace. We don’t go to church because we think we are perfect. We go because we know we aren’t! We know that the only way we are going to make it through until the next meeting is by soaking up what we can with our brothers and sisters in Christ. We know that personal Bible study is important, but worshipping as a group is important as well. We are continually learning that our righteousness is not in ourself but in Christ alone. 

And then on the other hand, I think of Jesus. He WAS the perfect person. He was all God and all man. He is the only “perfect” person allowed in a body of believers. 

So, the statement “No perfect people allowed” is somewhat correct in that no person physically walking the earth today can or will be perfect. 

I think perfection is a misconceived idea. There is no way that we will ever be complete while walking the sin-filled soil of this earth. (By the way, you do know that perfect means “complete”, right?) Jesus is the only hope we have for the possibility of achieving this goal. It is only a life in Him that opens that door. And even then, that door is in Heaven. So enjoy your imperfect life. With Christ, soon all things will be made complete. 

Casting stones

Matthew 7:1,2 – “Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again.”

On Friday, a friend of mine posted a status on Facebook regarding the judgemental looks she received when going into a car dealership with her children and her two foster children. The post broke my heart. How could people possibly be so shallow not to even consider that those two little girls were not her own? They look nothing like her or her children. Yet, here they were having a meltdown in the dealership and instead of someone offering to help out, they just stared and offered nothing but condemnation. 

Gets your blood pumping, doesn’t it? I bet you are saying to yourself “how cruel and uncaring.” I know I was. 

And then I continued reading about her intervention to the girls’ meltdown. She took them outside for some quiet time where they continued their tirade and people leaving the building continued their glares. And then something happened- my friend began to cry. She said she wasn’t crying because she was frustrated or upset. No, these tears were, in part, due to her own conviction that she too had been the one glaring at some point in time. 

How many times have you walked into the grocery store and heard some child screaming and thought to yourself “man, I hope they are at the end of their trip and not the beginning.” Or you got behind the person in the check out line paying for their groceries with change. Or you are next to the person at the airport who can’t seem to figure out how the loading procedure works.

We have all been there and judged.  We have all done that – never taking time to consider another side to the coin.  But why do we not think that for some children the grocery store is way too stimulating and it makes their sensory issues go into hyper drive. Or maybe that person paying with change has been having such a difficult month that change was all they had to buy that gallon of milk. Or maybe that person at the airport is burdened with so much grief that standing is an effort.  

We never know what people are dealing with in their everyday life. Yet, we find ourself casting mental stones all the time. At least, I know I do. It is an area of conviction that God has laid on my heart these last two days. 

What if, instead of automatically assuming the worst, we automatically saw them with His eyes? Would we have more compassion and understanding or would we want to turn the other cheek?

It is so much easier to judge and cast those mental stones. It takes work and effort to accept people and their circumstances. It takes work to want to be involved in someone’s life. And too often, we are so taken with our own stuff that taking on someone else’s problems has no appeal. Cast that stone and move on, right? 

Not according to Jesus. He reminds us here in Matthew that you will be judged the same way you judge. Try that on for size! It doesn’t fit so well. It hurts. We want grace and mercy. But giving it out is a whole other ballgame. 

So this week, I challenge you to see the opportunities to hold back those stones. Don’t throw them so quickly. See others the way Jesus sees them – just as broken and in need of Him as you are. 

Spring Cleaning

1 Corinthians 4:5 – “Therefore judge nothing before the time, until the Lord come, who both will bring to light the hidden things of darkness, and will make manifest the counsels of the hearts: and then shall every man have praise of God.

It is that time of year again – spring cleaning. I have been on my hands and knees these last two days cleaning baseboards. I’ve also been cleaning doors and tile and just about anything that will stand still long enough for me to get my cleaning rag around it. I try to do this once a year – give everything a good once over. And as I sit here this morning at my kitchen table and see gleaming white baseboards and sparkling tile behind my stove, I am content. I love a good clean house. Too bad my house rarely sees that time for any length of time. 

But you know something about spring cleaning? People rarely know that you have done it unless you say something to them. They just come in and see the house the way it always looks after you have cleaned. It’s a little frustrating, actually. You spend all those hours scrubbing and getting the yuck out and no one notices. But you do. You know. And God knows. 

He knows it all. You know that little corner of your heart that enjoys something it shouldn’t? He knows. You know that website that you have vistited that you think no one will know about because you erased it from the history? He knows. You know that little thought you think in your head when you see someone? He knows about that too. You can’t hide anything from Him. You may be able to hide your dirty baseboards with furniture, but you can’t hide your sin from God. 

It is time to have a spring cleaning of the heart. It is time to take some time this weekend and reflect. Look at your heart and your attitude. When Jesus comes back and all things are revealed, will you be embarrassed by what is revealed about you? Oh snap. That’s right. Everything will be laid open when we stand in judgment for our sins. Not going to be a pretty day. 

BUT there is hope. We don’t have to wallow in our sin. We can climb out of the mud with the help of the Father, and we can get cleaned off and set up straight. See, that is the beautiful thing about mercy and grace. He is right there to pick us up when we find ourselves in a mud hole. 

So this weekend, Princess, it is your responsibilty to take a long, hard look at the reasons behind what you do. I sincerely believe that our attitude is the key to what we do and how we act. It stems from what we believe. If you believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for your sins and rose on the third day victorious over death and sin, the sister you have the opportunity to have the attitude of Jesus. And when you have His attitude, most every thing else will fall into place. It is when we put off the attitude of Christ that we have problems. So, do a little spring cleaning of the soul, if you will, this weekend. Pray about your attitude and ask for direction in changing it or modifying it, if need be. No one else may see the cleaning of your soul, but the One that matters will certainly appreciate it. 

Psalm 119:73-80

Psalm 119:73-80                                                                                                                                                                                             

   “73 JOD. Thy hands have made me and fashioned me: give me understanding, that I may learn thy commandments. 

   74 They that fear thee will be glad when they see me; because I have hoped in thy word. 

   75 I know, O LORD, that thy judgments are right, and that thou in faithfulness hast afflicted me. 

   76 Let, I pray thee, thy merciful kindness be for my comfort, according to thy word unto thy servant. 

   77 Let thy tender mercies come unto me, that I may live: for thy law is my delight. 

   78 Let the proud be ashamed; for they dealt perversely with me without a cause: but I will meditate in thy precepts. 

   79 Let those that fear thee turn unto me, and those that have known thy testimonies. 

   80 Let my heart be sound in thy statutes; that I be not ashamed. “

I read this this morning and was touched. So many good things in these verse. I would like to look at each one individually this morning. 


73 – This verse identifies God as my Creator. He formed me in my mother’s womb and fashioned me to His liking. Now, I ask Him to give me understanding. My desire should be to understand more and more of Him and His commandments. It’s growing, plain and simple. God created me and all I have to do is ask and He will give me what I need to grow in the light of His love. 

74 – Fellowship. When I am around my brothers and sisters in Christ, it should be joyful because they know that I have been seeking God’s council in all that I do. And I can’t have fellowship if I don’t make an effort to seek out those who follow the Lord like I do. Fellowship is about attending my Local New Testiment church. 

75 – Sometimes I mess up. I don’t always seek out God’s will and desire for my life. And when I stray off the path, there are consequences. That is the time when I have to suck it up and accept the consequences for my actions. That is one of the times that I know that I am loved because He cares about me enough to correct me. And I know that His corrections are always right and just. 

76 – Even in times of correction, He is merciful. He does not give me what I deserve. He comforts me through my consequences. He has promised to never leave me nor forsake me. I cling to that promise with all that I am.

77 – This verse makes me think about a mother correcting her child after the child has done something completely against the rules and it requires some harsh discipline. The mother holds the child in her arms and comforts the crying child while gently explaining why what they did was wrong and that when you do that thing, you will be punished – not because the mother enjoys it, but because the child needs to learn that there is a right and a wrong way to do things. 

78 – Sometimes people are going to be mean to me even when I am doing the right thing. In those times, I can’t dwell on ways to get back at them. I must choose to instead seek out God’s council and wisdom on the matter. I need to leave the revenge to God. 

79 – This is a lofty request, one that makes me a little nervous – encouraging people to turn to me. I don’t always give the best advice. I don’t always listen like I should. But as I look back over these last two statements, I see the problem – “I”. I try to give my advice and listen with my ears. I need it give God’s advice and listen with His ears. 

80 – Now this verse, I can relate totally to. I pray that my heart remains firmly planted in God’s garden. I want my fruit to be sweet to His sight and to His taste. I do not want to be ashamed of any thing that I say or do because I want all that I say and do to be a reflection of Him.


So, there you have it , Princess. My short little verse by verse of this section of Psalm that truly touched my heart this morning. 

Impressions

Romans 2:1,2 – “Therefore thou art inexcusable, O man, whosoever thou art that judgest: for wherein thou judgest another, thou condemnest thyself; for thou that judgest doest the same things. But we are sure that the judgment of God is according to truth against them which commit such things.”

Have you ever met someone and immediately made a judgement about them? You see the way that they act and dress and immediately form an opinion about them. I am so very guilty of this. And that is wrong.

I met someone recently that dressed nice, had a bit of a boisterous personality,seemed nice but at the same time a little rough around the edges. This person had told me that they are getting a divorce. I immediately thought that it had to be in part because of her personality. I found out yesterday that this person is getting a divorce because of domestic battery. God has really convicted my heart over this one. My heart is broken for this person. I can’t imagine.

Every day we meet so many people and we really have no clue about what is going on in their life. It’s like that song “Give me your eyes” by Brandon Heath. Every day we see people. We watch people. We make judgements about people. And we have no idea about what people are feeling or going through or dealing with – we need to get involved in people’s lives. We need to make ourselves available to people. We need to open up the door of opportunity to share Christ with the world.

We can’t just live in our own little spiritual bubble and expect the world to come to us when they have a problem. No! Jesus was out there, elbow deep in the problems of the world. He didn’t just sit on some mountain waiting for the lost and dying world to come to Him. He got out there in the nitty gritty and proclaimed the Good News.

Why do we sit back and judge when what the world needs is Jesus? Do we think we are too good to talk to them? Do we think that by involving ourself in their lives that we will somehow become tainted? If we think these things, we are guilty of sin, just like the people we are hesitant about.

It’s coming upon Thanksgiving in a week or so. We have so much to be thankful for and so many blessings to count. Yet, we need to reach out. We need to show someone that yes, I have been blessed immensely but I see your hurt and I want to share a bit of my blessings with you. Do something for somebody without expecting anything in return. Ask God to show you who He has in mind for you to bless and to be blessed by helping.

And choose not to judge until you have heard the whole story. The details are so very important. Life is too short to live high on your mountain away from everything that is important in life.

EMPTY!

Psalm 40:11 – “Withhold not thou thy tender mercies from me, O LORD: let thy lovingkindness and thy truth continually preserve me.”

It has been a long week. I am empty. All the soccer practices, dance class, homework, cheer practices, football game, work, driving everywhere – I am pooped. Needless to say, I am looking forward to the weekend.

Despite all my running around, I could not have made it without His tender mercies. I see them every day in my life. From providing all that my family needs to a cloud at the football game to keep my pale skin from burning to a crisp. (The game was very hot and very bright yesterday.)

I fear that too often we fail to acknowledge God’s handiwork in our life. We just take it as what we deserve, what we are entitled to. But truly, God doesn’t owe us anything. “But I go to church. I serve Him. I do all this stuff in His name. Aren’t I entitled to some benefits?” Nope. That, dear one, is your reasonable service (“I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.” Romans 12:1).

His mercy, His lovingkindness and His truth – these are the things that He gives you. These are the things that sustain you. When you are empty, when you have had a long week, when you are tired – these are what bring you through.
His mercy – not giving you what you deserve.
His lovingkindness – in my mind, that’s His hug.
His truth – well, that’s His word, the Bible. His truth holds promises. It holds answers. It gives direction.

So you see, at the end of the week, when there is too many hours and not enough of you, just lean on this verse. Let it flood your soul with hope to pull you through the day.

Drama, drama, drama

Matthew 11:28-30 – “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”

I have an eleven year old daughter who started middle school last week. She is involved in cheer at school and dance on Tuesday nights. She is beautiful and bright.

At our house, we have an established study routine that we have had in place for quite some time now. We get home. The kids do their homework and then we rest. Both my kids are smart and have great study habits.

Well, last night, we had a fit of drama at my house. My daughter, out of the blue, started crying. She was freaked out about her first middle school test. She didn’t want to fail it. It is a vocabulary test. Really? I’m talking things like the definitions for science fiction, historical fiction and informational writing. Yes, this is the source of our fit of drama. Can we say hormones? I was telling my husband about it and he could not understand what was going on. Poor guy.

Now remember this, the vocabulary test wasn’t the only thing setting her off. She was worried about handling all her work and cheer and dance. She was worried that she would disappoint her dad and I. She was worried in generally about the whole middle school thing. Needless to say, her worry plate was FULL!

So, I sat her down and reminded her of this verse. She is a follower of Christ, praise the Lord, and she needed this verse. She needed to remember that Jesus wants our burdens. He wants all the things that are important to us, all the things that we cannot or don’t know how to deal with. He wants us to rest in Him. He wants us to walk alongside of Him.

I sent her off to her room with a box of Kleenex to have a little talk with Jesus. And you know what, she came down the stairs a much more peaceful young lady.

I had to give some burdens to Jesus last night too. I am coming to realize that my friend of eighteen years is coming to the end of his life – my cat. Now, I know that cats don’t have a soul, but he is my friend. I don’t take him to the vet because he is an indoor kitty and doesn’t need all the shots and stuff that outdoor kitties need. But another reason I don’t take him is because I’m afraid of what they will tell me. I can’t put my friend down. So, last night, I prayed for mercy. I prayed that God would take care of the situation. And now, I wait. I wait for Him to answer and to show His mercy to me and to His creation that He has given to me as a friend for eighteen years.

Dear princess, let me encourage you to give your burdens to Jesus. He cares about them no matter how small or insignificant they may seem to you or others. If it is important to you, it is important to Him. Walk alongside Him. Find rest in Him. And cry to Him – both in voice and in tears. Let Him hold you in times of worry and in times of sorrow and in times of joy. You see, He just wants to be a part of it all. He just wants you to rely upon Him to get you through it all.