Saturday, August 25, 2012

Covered in His Dust.

What would Jesus do?  Could I for one solid year commit to asking myself this question every time I was about to venture into a conversation, an uncomfortable situation or just another basic moment of my very own shallow life? 

As I sit here writing this blog there are so many awful things happening in the world around me. Mass shootings, political slander, and children growing up without the understanding of what it is to have respect for others and for self. I live in a world of chaos and destruction. I have spent the past few years of my life full of some really big "woe is me" moments as well.  So much so that I have often allowed them to take ownership of who I am. I have felt let down, taken advantage of, and abused.  People are people and human is as human does......And as a result of my own human nature I continually allow things, and people, to rent space in my head.

God is God and He is faithful.  And His ways are higher then mine.  The more I pray, the more I sit at His feet,and the more I seek His face, the more I begin desire to be like Him. Yes, to be covered in His dust.  I need to follow in His foot steps and be completely covered in the dust from the path He is leading.  In order to prepare for the journey ahead I need a few things. An understanding of the truth, a willingness to obey, and a desire to seek.

How do we even begin to grasp an understanding of truth? In a world full of deception and lies it is often difficult to discern between a lie and the truth. It is human nature to want to look good. Even our leaders show that very human nature. They slander their opponent. Looking in every crack and crevice to find a flaw that they can build on to make the other candidate look horrible and not worthy of the vote. All this so that they can take the focus off of their own hidden flaws. Jesus never said magnify your neighbors flaws. He reminded us that we need to take the plank from our own eye first.  The truth is that our hearts aren't always in the right place.  More often than not we do things for selfish gain.  Even making the decision to be a follower,these days, has become for our own selfish gain.  We deceive ourselves into thinking that it is okay to continue in our sin because we are "sinners saved by grace".  Ouch.  And we hang our hat on "our deeds are like filthy rags" and lay down and do nothing because we got the "free express pass ticket" on the "gravy train".  So, instead of having the "I deserve salvation" attitude, we need to seek the truth.  And the truth is that we need to have the attitude of a servant. To follow the lead of Christ, who was and is, the greatest model of a servant to ever walk these dusty roads.  God put on flesh and came to serve up a huge plate of everlasting life.  We should savor each bite.  Allowing eash tasty morsel to nourish us and give us the strength to carry out our mission.  Let's humble our dusty selves and be a good student.  When following in the steps of the greatest servant and Rabbi of all time we will then begin to see and understand real truth.

As a student, covered in His dust, we are called to be obedient.  Being obedient isn't always easy.  Especially when you live in a world that tells you it's okay to put yourself first. God tells us that we should do unto others in the same manner we would have them do unto us.  Think about that.  Now here is a good WWJD scenario.  Your "neighbor", who has pretty much neglected you for years, comes to your door.  They need to borrow your brand new car.  Their car won't start and they have a very important job interview.  And they need to leave immediately.  You have a split second to make the decision.  What is your answer?  I can tell you that my split second answer would probably be, "What are you out of your tree?" But wait, I am not looking very dusty now, am I? WWJD......Let's flip the situation.  Remember that plank in your own eye?  What if the "shoe was on the other foot"?  And the interview was your deal and you needed a car.  You know that if your neighbor allowed you to borrow their car you would feel like you were just given the greatest blessing of the day.  I know this is a really big ticket item.  But what about the little things.  Your phone, the computer, the lawn mower, a cup of sugar.  What is that possession that God is asking you to "lend" to your "neighbor".  How dusty are you going to get in your obedience?  God's grace is new and overflowing every morning.  He lovingly gives us a fresh fill every single day. And it is overflowing for a reason.  Be obedient and share His grace.  Be that biggest blessing in your "neighbor's" day.

God makes it easy for us to find Him. We just need to have a willingness to seek.   I remember as a child playing hide and go seek. The whole neighborhood full of kids would get involved in the game.  It was always exciting being the hider and the seeker.  I remember burying myself deep in the depths of the closet and hearing the sound of the seeker's footsteps.  I could sense their presence right outside the door.  And, sometimes I would move slightly because I had a desire to be found.  Usually, it would be because I had an admiration for the seeker.  But most of the time I would hold my breath in hopes of not being the first to be located.  I also loved being the seeker.  I would go on the hunt.  Looking for everyone.  It was exciting.  Just to find the prize under the bed, in a tree or in a cabinet. When we begin to seek God's word and all His treasures we should have that same excitement in our hearts. The prize of a life filled with an abundance of grace and forgiveness.  To never fear a lie.  To know that the dust that is covering you is His everlasting love.   Imagine how exciting each minute of the day could be if we made the decision to be the seeker of the Lord. If you seek Him you will find Him.

I pray that the power of the Holy Spirit be upon each one of the Rabbi's student's.  As we take these baby step and begin to imitate Jesus' every move.  I pray that we continue to observe You through your most precious word.  And also that those very words,"What Would Jesus Do", be tattooed upon our hearts, minds, and mouth.  I know that I desire to be a straight A student.  And, I know that when I wander off the dusty path, You will hold the line and wait for me.  In my eyes I may only be an average student.  But, You, Lord always see me as a prize.

Friday, August 10, 2012

Not the Prodical.........

To be jealous is to be envious or fearful of being replaced by a "rival".

I often feel like I live in the story of the prodical son. In my life it's not the Prodical vs the "I am right here" son.  In my world it is the Inherited vs the Biological.

I am certain that there is a jealousy on both sides.  There has to be.  The inherited's no longer live at home.  The oldest inherited lives and works in Istanbul, Turkey.  And the second inherited moved out, got married and is now expecting our first grandbaby at any moment. And then there are the three biological's.  And all three of them still live at home.  The oldest,who is currently working as a nanny and going to school, is preparing to move away within the next few months.  The second biological is in her fourth year of nursing school.  And the youngest is heading to our local Penn State campus for his freshman year.  All five of them have very different lives but the one thing they all have in common is this "home" and the privilege of being a part of this very dysfunctional family.

Five very different individuals that want to be treated equally.  God created each and everyone of us to fulfill a very specific purpose.  And not one of us is treated equally or the same.  For me, the Lord has given me the blessing of a big family.  And there are individuals to that don't have any family at all.  It isn't because God loves me more that He blessed me with an abundant family.  And it isn't because God loves those other individuals less.... or more depending on how you perceive the situation at hand.  We are given what is needed. I know that God is a faithful God and He is a fair God. He gives each one of us what we need when we need it.  His grace is sufficient and He is a very gracious God. Very gracious.  In case you didn't read that I said a very gracious God. So, with that being said, how do I treat these individuals and give what I can to each of them when they need something from me?  I too am one person.  I have that same, "What about me" attitude.  I often feel like others are getting more attention, more joy, and more love than me.  I throw a little tantrum in my head.  And often become withdrawn from the world.  Woe is me.  How can I, a person who struggles with the same "I want, give it to me, me first, I want it all, hey why did you do that for him/her and not me" attitude, show my family that each one of them will always be given what they need.....when they need it and if I can give it.

With an attempt at following the example of the Father, I try my best give to each one as I see fit in my heart.  I rejoice over each one of my  five kids.  I am sure that at one time or another each on has played a duel role in this life. They have each been the prodical and have all stepping in to play the role of the tried and true. I just pray that eventually they will all be excited about each others welcome "home" celebrations. As each one of the five "prodical's" have and will return there will be a a time of rejoicing! And as the "I am right here's" get wind of the celebration, there will most likely be a touch of jealousy that brews in their heart. Just like the other brother in Luke 15: 11-32 they feel like shouting what about me. The "I am here's" instantly forget about the grace that was and is shown daily to them. Jealousy is a very ugly and destructive emotion. I know that there is a tug going on. They too want to rejoice but their jealous hearts can, and often do, get in the way.

The Father rejoices and blesses the returning son.  Even when this child spent all his dad's hard earned money, slandered his family name, and went against the grain. Dad's arms are extended and still wanting to embrace his lost child. The only thing the prodical was able to give was himself .  Imagine how difficult it must be to be so disconnected, physically and or mentally, from the family because of distance, lies, actions and other choices one made.  It  makes for a very humbling experience to walk into a room of "I am always here's".  I praise God that He has given me the example of what unconditional love is truly about.  The prodical needs grace.  And, I know that I myself, a former and currently struggling prodical, continually receives a fresh fill of his grace every day.

God's grace is enough. And I am so thankful that He is God and I am not.   I try hard not to be one of those parents who gives only because I expect to receive something in return.  But, I often find that I am overwhelmed by the lack of gratitude.  All my jealous heart really desires in return is respect.  You know clean up after yourself, say thank you, have a willingness to help with stuff.  I all reality my list of "all I want in return's" could go on and on and on.  Because I am a brat too.  I give and that is the easy part.  The hard part is giving unconditionally.  I pray that God will continue to direct me.  As I seek His truth that I will remember each day to give to my prodical's and always here's the abundant grace that my Father in heaven continually give to to me, His prodical, every day.