Honesty In The Mirror

Okay, let’s take a moment to look at ourselves in the mirror to see if we have any hypocrisy. I know, it’s not a pretty blemish to look for, but if we are going to correct that blemish we need to look at it directly.

I’ll start.

Patience is a trait that I have had most of my life, it probably comes easier to me than for most people. But, that doesn’t mean that I don’t have moments of impatience. I have found that I am VERY impatient with people who are… impatient!

Whether they are tailgating a slower car, or showing impatience for a slow moving elderly person in the check out stand at the grocery store, or slapping a computer keyboard or clicking the mouse faster than the Internet connection can respond (that’s my worst pet peeve!), these impatient people bring out my own impatience.

God is helping me though by bringing my character flaw to the forefront of my mind. The patience that I do have for all of the rest of the people in the world does NOT make up for my moments of impatience, regardless of how “justified” my impatience may seem to me at the moment or how wrong the other impatient people might be in acting toward others.

On this point of looking in the mirror at ourselves, I had to laugh with my wife a while back. She admitted that she was easily offended by people who are… easily offended!

God is helping her too.

What about you? Do you have a similar dichotomy where you see that you are guilty of the same thing that upsets you about others?

Please share your own “mirror insights” in the comments. I know that your own transparency and journey of being changed with God’s help will be a blessing to us and to the others who read this.

We Are Uniquers!

What would the world be like if EVERYONE was just like me? Now before you get all giggly at the jokes that I have just opened myself up to, consider this: What would the world be like if EVERYONE was just like YOU?

“Thank You, Lord, for diversity!”

I don’t mean “diversity” exactly like our society means it (I don’t include the diversity of a sinful lifestyle). I am however, thankful for different skin colors, different languages, different cultures, different personalities, different talents, different skills, different interests, different humors, different physiques, different perspectives, different perceptions, and different genders (only the 2 original ones though!).

As much as life is difficult to navigate in this world full of 7 Billion uniquely different people, it is much preferred to a world where EVERYONE is just like me (or just like you)!

I’m sure that if everyone was just like me in every way, God would be stuck in an eternal eyes-rolled-up and sighing condition. But, thankfully (can I get an amen?) there is only ONE of me (and only ONE of you)!

You and I are made DIFFERENT from everyone else for a purpose, a divine purpose! We are “uniquers.” God didn’t want an army of robots that all operated on the exact same operating system with the exact same outcomes. Instead, He wanted a family without identical twins that would fill the house of heaven with joy and laughter with Him.

Some people may never like us, some people may always look down on us, some people may never notice us, and some people may mock us because of how we are different from them. But the problem is not because we are different from them, it is because they think everyone should be like them.

All of us are on a journey. Some people will learn early in life to appreciate God’s diversity in humanity, while others will only learn to appreciate His diversity (us and others) late in their life.

As for you and me, we will enjoy life to its fullest when we walk with Christ and appreciate every single human being that He has created, each with their own distinct qualities with unique measures in all of the components that come together and form a human being: a “uniquer.”

Let’s now go forth and be happy campers!

 

#PastorsTip #Diversity #Jesus #Christ #Human #Unique #Appreciate

Shattered by God?

As devout followers of Christ, God fills us with the fragrance of His glory, His presence, and His love. We are vessels that He uses to store and then to disperse measures of His fragrance to the other people in the room.

Sometimes He has a whole church, or neighborhood, or stadium, or city with which He wants to share His fragrance that He has stored in our life. Because our normal method and measure of dispersing His fragrance is inadequate for the mass of people around us, He will crush our life to expose ALL of His perfume.

He is not crushing our life in punishment or in judgement, but as a means of providing a free-flow of His fragrance from our life. It is the only way for the FULLNESS of His glory, His presence, and His love to be FULLY dispersed from our life for all to enjoy and to be drawn to Him.

“Lord, teach me how to disperse your fragrance everywhere that I go. And when the time is right, please crush me so ALL of your perfume may be exposed to the masses. Amen!”

Shouldn’t God’s Love Compel Him to Heal Me?

The scriptures clearly teach us and illustrate for us that God not only loves us, but that His very nature is love. He is the supreme origin of love, and He is even incapable of acting outside of the defining boundaries (the definition) of His true love.

This certainly challenges all of our simplistic concepts of what love is and what it looks like. Suffice it to say, the love of God is better, greater, and purer than we could ever imagine or understand. If there is ever any conflict between what we see God doing and what our concept of love is, the conflict is due to our own misunderstanding: our misunderstanding of what love really is, and our own misunderstanding of what God is doing.

A common accusation of humanity [put forth in the form of a seemingly rhetorical question] is, “If God is so loving, why does He allow so much suffering in the world?” This is an overly simplistic view of an infinite God that is without limit in wisdom, intellect, holiness, power, etc. It is like an accusation of lovelessness wielded by a 3 year old child against a parent who withholds a second serving of ice cream at dessert time. Okay, I know comparing human suffering and withholding ice cream is not the greatest of illustrations, but it does hint at the magnitude that separates our simplistic views from the eternal reality of God and His purposes.

God’s love put into action is not a series of isolated and unconnected events that are measured only within their individual timeframes of seconds, hours, years, or decades. His love involves a perfect plan of intervention and redemption in a world that has been captivated by sin since Adam and Eve sinned in the Garden of Eden. The greatness of His love for us is better comprehended as it is viewed within the entire context of creation’s history.

If we invalidate God’s love by taking events and moments out of the context of the big picture, we too will truly ask questions like, “If God is so loving, why does He allow me to suffer with chronic sickness and delay healing me?”

In the Gospel of John, Lazarus was a man whom Jesus loved deeply, and though he became very ill, Jesus delayed coming to his bedside. He allowed him to continue to suffer with intense illness, and even to experience a miserable death. And yet Jesus loved him?

“Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha…

So the sisters sent word to Jesus, ‘Lord, the one you love is sick.’ When He heard this, Jesus said, ‘This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.

Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when He heard that Lazarus was sick, He stayed where He was two more days…

On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem…”

~ John 11:1, 3-6, 17-18

Jesus went on to raise Lazarus from the dead as a demonstration of God’s loving power for all who would choose to believe in Him.

If we limit our measure and perspective of Jesus’ love to just those days leading up to Lazarus’ death, we will erroneously conclude that because Jesus allowed Lazarus to suffer (when He could have healed him immediately) His love for Lazarus was a farce, it was bogus.

Likewise, if we “understand” our own suffering through the same errant method of cherry picking events out of the context of the entire plan and strategy of God, we will be sorely disappointed and disillusioned by God’s purported love.

Some have asked me about my own illness, “If God loves you the way that you say He does, why doesn’t He heal you and deliver you from your chronic suffering and pain?” Though I cannot fully comprehend His ways and His plans, I can answer their question. He DOES love me, and in the larger context of His grand design and strategy, His love is just as real, and intact, and active as ever. His love is far too great and complex for me to try and measure (or disprove) utilizing the limited resources of my human mind and reasoning.

I am at peace with God’s delay of my healing. No where within the scripture’s definitions of love is there a restraining quality that requires every act of God’s love to be started and completed within a small period of time such as an hour, a day, a week, a month, a year, a decade, a quarter of a century, a half of a century, a lifetime, a century, a millennium…

Jesus, with great love, delayed His healing of Lazarus [for a few days] for purposes that extended His love to many other people, even two thousand years later. Raising Lazarus from the dead was not just about Lazarus, it was about demonstrating to the many the great power of the loving God who not only resurrects all of the dead in the future, but offers to all of humanity a choice to choose Him and His eternal love in the here and now.

As followers of Christ, our sufferings (though very painful and horrifying at times) are allowed by God so that He can demonstrate His love to us and through us [to multitudes] in ways that we may never comprehend or fully realize until we reach Heaven. Let’s allow God to show His perfect love according to His perfect wisdom and perfect strategies within the larger context of His creation, time, and space.

I am at peace.

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#PastorsTip #John11 #Lazarus #GodsLove #Love #Suffering #Jesus #Healing #ChronicIllness