I’ve been there too
So, I caught a cold this past Monday. I have an old family rule that I live by that says, ‘if you don’t have a fever you aren’t sick enough to stay home.’ I hate this rule; but once something becomes engraved in your mind it’s hard to change. So I plowed through and made it to Saturday where I almost died on the couch. Not literally. Then my mom asks me to bring a meal over to my grandparents. Up I get and off I go to carry the food across the yard, (we live on an acreage). On the way back my dog wants to play. It’s so warm and sunny that we play for about half an hour. Then I see him. My horse with his head over the fence. Guess what? He too has a cold. I walk over and rub his neck and he presses his forehead against mine. I have had my horse for nearly 10 years, I knew he was saying he didn’t feel great. I also felt the sense that we were sharing a moment of understanding. He was sick and so was I, he needed a hug and so did I. We understood each other’s suffering. Then I got to work filling his water, because he was low and giving him extra mineral to combat the virus, and feed to keep his strength up and then more hugs.
I have two points here. One is that no matter how you feel there is always someone who needs something and true love is doing that something no matter what. My mom is really great at this. Complain your way through if you must, but Christ’s spirit of carrying one another’s burdens makes us keep giving. Point two. No matter what you are going through there is always someone somewhere who has been through the same and wants to help. You are NEVER alone. With 7 billion people in the world there is zero chance that you are the only one who is suffering this particular way. Others get it and even if they don’t, Jesus gets it and He has always got your back! He will Always help you through the tough times. Even if that though time is pushing through with a cold.
God arms me with strength. And He makes my path perfect. Psalms 18:32
When I was in high school I took basic karate. One of the main things drilled into the class was the fact that karate means open handed combat, which means that our combat is self defense it is not meant as a form of attack. If we apply this technique to life we get a person entering their day open minded to the people around them and empty handed of judgments. When we go out into this world we are stepping onto the mat and as Christians the way we respond to daily jabs and kicks need to be censored according to our teachings. In martial arts your fight technique reflects that of your teacher, in the same way our daily response to life needs to reflect Jesus. We enter the arena holding nothing against the people we will face, we come in open minded to their situation. Picture this. Bright blinding lights, a roaring crowd and a tall battle scarred warrior faces you down as your toe touches the mat, there’s no turning back now. You see that angry face, the deep creases of old battles lost and you gain your opinion of the warrior. They step closer and you step up to them, you don’t yet know what will happen next all you know is this person has been hurt too many times and it is your turn now to decide, do you attack or do you help? Do you reign judgement and add to their scars or do you give compassion and help the scars heal? Your mind open and clear so you can hear from the Holy Spirit and see this person’s needs and you realize all they need is a comforting hand. As the vision fades away; the crowds and the lights dim, you see the warrior in a new way, the way Jesus sees them. We shouldn’t enter the arena to fight we should enter to help; but sometimes in this daily life we Christians forget that we are not here to judge and attack the people around us, we are here to help them and in doing so show them Jesus. That’s the point to open handed combat, coming without prejudices and without judgements so you can help heal this world just as Jesus came without a sword or armor as a gentle baby in a manger.
What a beautiful contradiction we live in as Christians. We who are captive yet free. We are captured by God’s love, held by His grace, set free by His mercy; we are free captives. We are not branded as a possession, but we are marked with a seal as precious goods. A seal that doesn’t say ‘ you are my property’ but instead says ‘you are my beloved.’ We are not held against our wills with chains, but instead we are held safe with strong, comforting hands. We belong to Jesus, yet we are free to leave. Once you’ve known Jesus as your personal savior you will never want life without Him. We are a contradiction, captives who are free. But to be a captive of love, to be held by grace, to be saved by mercy is a capture I never want to avoid or flee from. Capture me my savior and never, ever let me go! There is no place safer than in the hands of Jesus. The world says that our Bibles are books of hate, but they couldn’t be more wrong because our Bibles couldn’t be more full of love. All of us have things we don’t like in the Bible, but that doesn’t mean those things are wrong, they’re just hard to accept. We are all sinners, that’s not a hate statement it’s just a fact. Jesus loves us and came to save the sinner, that’s also in the Bible. Jesus loves us despite our sin, that’s not a statement of hate it has love written in it. We are captured by someone of love, who wrote us a book telling us how much He loves us and giving us examples of His love. If we didn’t have sin we wouldn’t have needed a savior. The devil caused sin to become great, and he took captive many people, he took people right out of the church and caused them to do evil. Filled with sorrow and rage God saw that the only way for these people to become clean was to send a perfect sacrifice. With pain overwhelming His heart God sent His most beloved and only son as that sacrifice. Now we are set free. The devil had made us prisoners, captives under a cruel master, slaves to his every whim; but Jesus made us brothers and sisters, friends, captives of a new nature because we are captives of love. I wouldn’t want to be anything else. My chains are gone, I’ve been set free, yet I choose to stay with my savior, because in Jesus my master is my friend. Choose Jesus, He chose you before you ever existed.
Every time we go through a fiery furnace, if we have faith , we will see we are not alone. When we go through troubled times we have to have courage that God will be with us. We will be privy to the world standing astonished at the glory of our God. Our bounds will be broken and we will walk freely, He will break us from all fear and we will be cleansed. God knows what we are going through. Even if we are going through fire God is with us, even if we feel alone we have a friend standing with us. A friend who looks like a son of the gods, because guess what? He IS God’s son.
We all know the song. ‘Wherever you go, whatever you do I’ll be right here waiting for you. Whatever you say, though my heart breaks, I’ll be right here waiting for you.”
That song easily applys as a love song from Jesus. No matter what we do or say, even if it hurts Him He will never stop loving us. How many times do we break His heart? How many times do we make Him cry? He never holds it against us and keeps on loving us. He waits for us to come back to Him and He holds us close against His heart and tells us it’s going to be okay. That’s what true love is. It’s not flowers, it’s not chocolate, it’s forgiveness, and no one knows forgiveness like Jesus. He took our sins upon Himself and made it so we could be forgiven, that’s amazing! We keep falling away and He keeps reaching out to catch us when we call. No matter what He loves us, truly loves us.
We have all seen the signs while shopping warning us that if we break anything we have to pay for it. The same is with people, if you break them you buy them. If you cause someone pain it’s up to you fix that pain. A simple ‘sorry’ doesn’t always fix things but if it’s with the heart then you tried and that counts right? Sort of. Not really. You have caused a crack in that person, a pain and it needs fixing. You need to do your best to cause the fix to the break you have created. Words last painfully longer than physical harm, even if those words weren’t meant to hurt, or weren’t even meant to be said, they still hurt and hurt a lot. It’s sometimes very hard to cure the pain you’ve caused but the pain the other person feels is your responsibility to fix none the less. We need to pray hard about how to fix the pain we have caused other people. We can’t always fix the pain but we have to try. Our best bet is to never say anything that hurts anyone, but when we do hurt others we can’t just say ‘oh well’ and move on we must realize our fault and fix the problem the best we can and then leave it in God’s hands.
I spent today like I spend most days off work, with my dog. This week so far has been particularly cold so long walks were out of the question. But today when I stepped outside I was pleasantly surprised by a warm breeze and a bright sun. This warmth encouraged me to take my dog all over town; we went through the snow on some hiking trails I hadn’t explored in years, and when we finally turned to go home it wasn’t with an anxious heart to get back inside, it was with a satisfied step which showed how nice a time we had had. This walk made me think how just a little warmth can go a long way. The warm air outside encouraged me to walk farther and do new things just like the warm encouragement from a pearson can make us want to continue on and take another step. The word encouragement is defined as the action of giving someone support, confidence or hope. In life we often face ‘cold’ days, times when the sun doesn’t shine and everywhere we turn we are hit by a blast of ice crystals. In these times it’s amazing how one person can make a difference. One person can take that day and either make it better or worse. When someone feels low and we try to lift them up, wheather we know them or not, we make God smile. That’s why God made so many people He knew we would need each other when the road grew too long. A word of support is like a warm breeze, it makes you want to add more footprints to the path of your story instead of stopping where you are. A simple “it’s going to be okay” or “you can do it” can be just what we need to carry on. So always try to be encouraging, who knows, your words may be the difference between someone’s success or failure, so choose them wisely and make them kind and encouraging.
Galatians 6:2 Carry each other’s burdens, in this way fulfilling the law of Christ.
Let the Spirit renew your thoughts and attitudes. Put on your new nature, created to be like God-Truly righteous and holy. Ephesians 4: 23-24
We all ‘say’ we want to be more like Jesus. To be anointed with His kind of grace but do we really?
How many of us as humans would raise our hands and say, “Me Lord, make me more like you,” and actually mean it?
Not many. Because to be more like Christ we need to change from our old, sinful self into the new enlightened version that God has for us.
Sacrificing things to become closer to God is not an easy task and there are few who would take it up; but to put on the nature of Christ we need to follow his ways. Pray more, be kind to those who hate us, care for those in need, and throw a table or two once in awhile when none of the above are being effective.
But the greatest thing we can do to be more like Christ is love
When you are so blessed but you let little things irritate you.
Remember how Corinthians said ‘if I have not love’ or in some versions charity, what am I? I resounding gong or a clanging symbol. Lately I have looked around and seen blessings on top of blessings, answers to prayers not just for myself but for others aswell and yet when the guy cut me off on the highway my response was less than charitable. When the third person that day nearly banged into me in Wal Mart and I turned to my mom and complained that wasn’t charitable either. In Wal Mart I should have expected to get banged into at least once, and later my mom and I were laughing about the strung together multitudes and then I realized; we had a great day altogether we were both in great moods, why did these things bother me? Let me rephrase that, who was really bothering me? The devil is clever making us react when little things happen, one reaction after another and soon something nice can be something not nice. For my day my friend Holy Spirit stepped in and said, ‘excuse me Lauren, that’s not the girl I raised talking,’ and I realized I was wrong in reacting, and like I said my day was great. Complaining about bad drivers is slander. I know that sucks most of us love to yell at traffic (or at least many of the people I know do) it’s cathartic in many ways, but it’s still slander. As Aladdin once said, ‘if I were as rich as you I could afford some manners.’ Can’t people as rich as we afford some Grace?
I feel terrible letting those things get to me, does the person in the silver Kia hatchback feel at all bad about my yelling at him? no, does the kid who nearly ran me down in the store feel bad? I hope not, He was having a bad day getting dragged around grocery shopping with his mom he doesn’t need my short fuse bothering him. That’s the problem, we all have things that we let get to us and it tears us down, and quite possibly tears others down too, especially the person we complain to. We need to learn to tell the devil to get lost and control how we react to things, or else we lack charity. I don’t know about you but I don’t want to be a gong.
Everyone probably knows the song you are so beautiful; but imagine that as the love song that God sings to you. I don’t know about you but I want God to think I’m beautiful, on the inside. I want God to smile down and sing ‘you are so beautiful to me,’ with an angel choir as back up obviously.
To be seen as beautiful by your father is a wonderful thing. Don’t you think?
To God we are beautiful when we screw up, when we fail, when we try, when we are hurt, broken or sad. The times when we may seem ugly to the people around us we are still beautiful to God. He loves our inglorious messes, He knows how hard we have struggled and to Him the struggle is beautiful because we have not given up. To God a simple act of kindness is more beautiful than fireworks. Opening the door for a person who has too many things to carry, donating a jacket to a homeless shelter, working the mission field. God sees all works for Him as beautiful. He finds it beautiful when you pray for your neighbors and offer a word of encouragement on a friend’s facebook page. It’s not hard to be beautiful to God; we were born beautiful to Him. We just have to keep being Jesus to the world and maybe then the world too will see our beauty.