Monday, May 23, 2011

He Will Come for You

1John 3:6, 9, "No one who lives in Him keeps on sinning. No one who continues to sin has either seen him or known him. No one who is born of God will continue to sin, because God's seed remains in him; he cannot go on sinning, because he has been born on of God."

Ever been stuck on a sin?
I have...

I tried talking myself out of it. I cried, prayed, tried, and tried...and although I was never happy with it, it remained.

In it, I felt very alone. No one to tell, no one to listen.
Who would listen? Everyone looked well around me. Too good to be concerned. Preoccupied with life.
No one wanted to know my secret. No one lurked in to know. Everyone kept their distance. Smiles at a distance.
And there I was.... alone in my sin.

"People either don't want to know or they simply want to avoid the needs of others." seemed.

However, although my sin remained, I couldn't find joy in it. I was constantly regretful and hating it all along. I couldn't enjoy the sin.

Still no one ever came to my rescue.... no one even noticed I was in need.
No one, but God.

And so God alone sought me out. Just when I was at what seemed like my point of no return, God stretched out His arm and pulled me out.
He came for me....
He found me...
there in my struggle
in my whirlwind of a mess
in my messed up mind frame
He loved me

Ever been there?
If by any chance you are there right now, know this much...
It is at your point of no return that God will bring you out of your mess.
It is at your broken heart, that He will heal you back together.
It is in your wavering thoughts, that He will bring about peace of mind.
It is where you are right now.... wherever that is...
You see there are no boundaries to God nor His love for you.

And when you are His child, struggling...
He will come for you.
That's a promise.

Whom Do You Love?

Yesterday in church the message was a powerful lesson to be learned. And as the speaker shared, this is the conversation my daughter and I whispered....
CC: "What is the gospel?"
Me: "The word of God"
CC: "How do we obey it?"
Me: "By loving God most of all and loving others too."
CC: "But I already love you."
Me: "Not just me and family, but others... those that are strange, ugly, poor, sad..."
CC: "Ugly?" (giggles....)
Me: "Yes, ugly..."

I remember in high school a boy named James.
James was awkward. He was not attractive, he dressed funny, talked to himself, and had greasy long hair. James was what we called a "nerd". His locker was right next to mine. And for some strange reason, James liked me. I guess it had to do with the fact that I quickly learned his name, and whenever I saw him, I'd call out to him.... "Hi Jaaaames".

He'd blush every time, and my friends would laugh.
You see I didn't genuinely like James. In fact, I knew nothing of him, except that he was not popular and that he was "different".
I was never actually mean toward him, but I did know how to get a reaction out of him.
One day James saw me walking down the school hallways with what was then my "boyfriend", and he became very upset with me. He began rambling on and on about how I had betrayed him and he even used foul language to offend me.
At first, I was confused by the whole thing. Yet, later I realized I was responsible for the way he felt. You see, in my pretending to be very friendly with James, I lead him to believe that I genuinely cared for him. And as I made light of my almost "flirtatious" remarks toward him, he was taking them very seriously. James was special that way, and I had taken advantage of his naive ways.

Ironically enough, today's speaker at our school's outing was focusing on those who are "different". He mentioned that he suffered from Tereks' syndrome, and he shared the difficulties that came with it. He pointed out that while he sees his condition as his greatest weakness, it has also become the avenue in which God's power can manifest itself in his life and the life of others.

I mentioned that he focused on those who are different, and their weaknesses. However, the reality is that we are ALL "different", and we all have weaknesses.

Weaknesses. What's wrong with having them?
Okay, so I can think of many reasons why we don't like weaknesses and we rather focus on our strengths. But just imagine if we were all without flaws. Imagine a world in which everyone was just right. No one with the need to ask for help. No one to help.
We all look just right and feel just right.
So much so that we wouldn't need God.

You see it is in our weaknesses that we can finally acknowledge that we need God. Without them, we become our own god.

And so first of all I'm encouraged to embrace my weaknesses and struggles, and to see them as my avenue to draw closer to God.
I will never be strong enough or just right. And that's okay because God's power is manifested in my life and the life of others because of it.

The other lesson is that I would see the weaknesses of others in a different light. That I may be sensitive and show compassion. That I may be slow to judge. That I may be reminded of God's power because of someone else's weakness.

That I may see God in everything and everyone. The strong, the weak, the just right, and the totally wrong. That all may lead me to Him.

But greater than that lesson, I find that I not only should consider others with compassion, but truly love them as Christ would.
That I may pray for a stranger. That I may see God in their eyes. That I may seek the homeless. That I may feed the poor and lead the blind. That I may be willing to do this for anyone ... even the ugly.

(I'm so sorry James.)

1st John 3: 17-18, "If anyone has material possessions and sees his brother in need but has no pity on him, how can the love of God be in him? Dear children, let us not love with words or tongue but with actions and in truth."

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Who's To Say?

Isaiah 54:10, "Though the mountains be shaken and the hills be removed, yet my unfailing love for you will not be shaken nor my covenant of peace be removed,” says the LORD, who has compassion on you.

Isn't it the truth? that somehow accusing always feels easier than being accused. We are so quick to judge.

I was in a meeting for work, where we were called on to name those students who are most deserving of recognition for certain outstanding characteristics. Something that is common for most teachers and schools to do, specifically at the end of the school year. And it seems right and fair to give "props" to those who have earned it.

But for some strange reason, I began to feel so uncomfortable about the whole thing. I guess it had to do with how much time it took to decide on some and how we didn't always agree on the "traits" we witnessed in the students. But isn't that always the case? What you may see in someone, could be something that I may never see. I might never see the good you see in "Ronnie" because my experience with him is completely different from yours. And so it becomes something that is based primarily on opinions---personal opinions... and the objectivity gets faded away.... and we are left with the role of a judge.

And that's how I a judge. And for some strange reason, I didn't feel right about it.
How can I be the judge... of what is deserving? If "so and so" is just as deserving as the other, or if they are both to a certain extent "undeserving".

It gets confusing, I know.

And why do we focus so much on giving merit to those "deserving" students, when we have those that mostly just "need" encouragement?

What are those "other" students deserving of?
Why can't we come up with an award for the students who struggle most?

I know it sounds kind of crazy.
And yet, isn't that the love of Christ? God's love is crazy!

I don't deserve His love, and yet every day I wake up to the knowledge and assurance of it.
I don't deserve His mercies, and every morning I face new ones.
I don't deserve His grace, and I am embraced by it every, every day.

I don't know if you've ever been the accused, but I know from personal experience that it is not a good feeling to be accused. And you might say, "well, did you deserve to be accused?"...That's how we justify...

Nevertheless.... have you ever been accused? Wrongly....rightly.....
It really doesn't matter because nobody likes being accused.
Yet ironically enough, the reality of it is that we "all" stand accused....and convicted of our fallen selves. We don't deserve merit for any good we have ever done or could ever do. And what we really deserve, well....

You see we don't really get what we deserve, when we are in Christ.
And still we get what we don't deserve.

So maybe you think that I've taken this way out of proportion... I mean it's just some "Good Job!" awards for some well deserving kids.

Well, maybe so, but who's to say?....
And what about the motives of the heart? Well, I could never be the judge of that.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011


Please read this urgent message in its entirety....

Time is running out, and there is a real urgency to this message...
because there are people dying today, just as they were yesterday, and will be tomorrow:
  • of hunger
  • of fear
  • of hate
  • of hurt
  • of hopelessness
  • of abandonment
  • of loneliness
  • and from sin
And they are everywhere:
  • your neighbors
  • your students
  • your cashiers
  • your barbers/beauticians
  • your attendants
  • your friends
  • your family
So what are we to do?
Is there anything we can do?
And where do we begin?
  • a smile
  • a note
  • a call
  • a talk
  • a walk
  • a prayer
  • a visit
  • a meal
  • a drive
  • a hug
  • time
  • energy
  • compassion
  • understanding
  • forgiveness
  • sharing
  • consideration
Today I did something that does not come natural to me. I came out of my "comfort zone" and spent my late afternoon with some really neat kids that I've never met before. I can't even tell you all of their names. And yet I helped feed them. I talked with them, and I even played with them.
And to tell you the truth, I actually enjoyed myself while doing it.
That was today.... I don't know if I will step out again tomorrow, but I sure hope so.

So you decide... What can you do today, right now... to reach our dying world?

I have mentioned before that my grandmother committed suicide when I was 19 years old.
And yet, she was dying prior to the incident.
She was lonely, ill, and depressed. And we didn't see it.

Don't wait until it's too late to do what is needed to be done for those around you.
Do it now!
  • bring hope
  • bring food
  • bring shelter
  • bring friendship
  • bring love
  • bring Christ
You will never regret it. In fact, you might even enjoy doing it!

Matthew 25:40 “...Truly I tell you, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me."