Wednesday, August 29, 2012

His Eye Is On The Sparrow

Standing at the kitchen sink, elbow deep in suds, I was surprised at my calm.

I could hear the hum of conversation behind the closed door beyond the hall. I knew the voice on the other end of the line was giving the news we'd expected but wern't looking forward to hearing.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

He is at Work

"God is working in you to make you willing and able to obey." Philippians 2:13

Have you ever thought you could change someone else?

If you just tried hard enough... wanted it bad enough for them, somehow it would come about eventually.
I have. It's exhausting.    Mostly because it doesn't work, and all it does is leave us frustrated, resentful and ridden with anxiety. That alone should be a sure sign that we aren't doing it God's way.

Didn't Jesus tell us that if we took His yoke upon ourselves it would be an easy yolk... a light burden
But trying to change those around us is not easy, it's hard. And the burden of doing so is a heavy one.

             That's because it's not our job.

The process of transformation in each person is always, only the job of Jesus.  He is the Author of each person's faith, He alone is the perfecter. He alone is the one who began the good work in them, He alone will be the one faithful to complete it.

When we stand before him one day, it will be to answer for that which we ourselves have been given. Our life. Our days. Each will give an account for themselves.

Sometimes in our love for those around us we can mistake our anxiety for their spiritual growth as a mark of our spirituality, or our depth of caring. This is a wrong thinking. When the disciples were surrounded by stormy seas, they accused the Lord Jesus of not caring if they drowned. As if him being in a place of rest about the situation showed a lack of compassion or concern.   Jesus? Not caring, really?      He rebuked them for their fear and lack of faith. (Mark 4)

True spirituality is marked by our ability to entrust the care and growth of those we love into the loving hands of God. Our God, and theirs. 

Pray for them, in faith. Speak words of encouragement and life. Yes.
But let us not resort to 'helpful hints', manipulation by guilt, or any other fleshly means to accomplish the holy work of transformation in another soul. It is God's work.

[Not in your own strength] for it is God Who is all the while effectually at work in you [energizing and creating in you the power and desire], both to will and to work for His good pleasure and satisfaction and delight."   Philippians 2:13 Amplified Version 

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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

What I'm Not

What defines you? Here are some things that do NOT define me:

I am not defined by....
        what kind of car I drive
         how much money is in my bank account
         or what people who don't really know me think about me

I am not defined by....
         how big or well decorated my home is
         how amazing of birthday parties I throw my children
         or what stores I shop at

I am not defined by....
         being the team mom for my kid's sport
         the size and shape of my body
         or what brand my jeans are, or purse is

No, these things do not define me.

(And sometimes I have to say it just like that. Big and Bold.  If only to myself. Regularly.)

And I try and remember then,  what DOES define me, according to God's measuring stick...

          How well I love others (John 13:35)
          How well I care for the widow and the orphan (James 1:27)
          How well I serve the least of my brethren (Matt 25:40)

Some people think that they are defined by how much knowledge that they have acquired, spiritual or otherwise.

 But it seems it really all comes down to how well you love.

Jesus commended those who loved with abandon. The woman who poured out the ointment on his feet, all of her best lavished on him with love.

Or the one whom they called sinner, who washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair, of whom Jesus said, "Her many sins have been forgiven - as her great love has shown."

Paul knew how easy it would be for the Christ-follower to get sidetracked, majoring on the minors,  forsaking the one command Jesus gave us:   Love. And love well.
He wrote in his letter to the church at Corinth:

"If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing.  If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing." 1 Corinthians 13

Can we say, like good ole' Forrest,  "I'm not a smart man. But I know what love is."

If we were to strive for this one thing only, to know what love is and do it well, we will have lived a very worthy life indeed.

Defined by love. His love for us. Our love for Him. Our love for others. Period.

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