When do we look for Jesus? And what do we expect to find, when we experience Him? It seems to me that genuine Jesus is irresistible but religious Jesus isn’t nearly as riveting nor attractive. Here’s something short & interesting when you thinking about looking for Jesus:
Do you ever say things & then you have to do them? This morning, I posted on FB something about being quick to forgive & slow to judge. Sure enough, I had an opportunity to practice those words not too long after I posted that. Blech.
I wonder if the Holy Spirit doesn’t tell us stuff that’s going to happen before hand, so that when it happens our attitudes and thoughts are ready to have the Fruit of the Spirit operational, rather than the works of the flesh. Let’s make it our goal to stay
so that we don’t fulfill the works of the flesh, like Paul says in Gal 5:16 🙂
I have the wonderful honor of getting to be around fabulous people, like Pam who did my makeup & Christie who did my hair today. Both of these wonderful ladies & a boatload of other fantastic peeps (like Demetria, Garrett, Molly, Ivorie & more) are folk behind the scenes in tv / webland for CBN with the 700 Club. These people are magnificent in glorious ways: kind, patient, FUN & super smart!
Everyone has unique strengths & we are at our best when we are ourselves & do what we are good at. Here are some ideas that might help us as we endeavor to be our best:
- Be sincere – fake & pretentious can be repulsive
- Be kind – there’s more than enough cranky to go around
- Be forgiving – taking offense is the low road
- Be YOU! You are fearfully & wonderfully made!
When I read the news, seeing all kinds of awful things going on, sometimes I want to curl up in a corner with a blanket, headphones & a good book.
And then I saw this today, which is a nice wake up call:
While I fully understand that police are flawed humans, I also appreciate that they routinely put their lives at risk to protect and serve. I like that this lady expresses her love with such sincerity & I hope I can be as authentic and sincere 🙂
When Jesus rose from the dead, there were all kinds of speculations as to what happened to Him. Indeed, the first person to see Him after His resurrection thought He was a common gardener. When Jesus appeared to His disciples, initially they thought He was a scary ghost. On the road to Emmaus, some of His followers thought He was a fellow traveler. It seems to me that we often try to fit Jesus into our known paradigms rather than change our thinking to fit Who Jesus is.
When I think about Who Jesus is & what He did, I’m reminded that He defied the religious conventions of His day:
- He purposely healed on the Sabbath in front of the religious leaders, creating havoc & chaos in their doctrinal dogma
- He upended the daily temple traffic, displaying anger & hostility at the distorted expression worship had become
- He challenged Nicodemus’ thinking about God’s kingdom and sprung on him the crazy idea about being born again
- He condemned the religious to forgive the broken and defeated: the woman caught in adultery who was brought to Jesus by the religious leaders whom He forgave
Let’s be careful that our ideas of Jesus conform to the Gospels and not merely man’s religious dogma 🙂
The world in which we live has some people who do some really crazy things – holding their breath for multiple minutes for deep water diving, wrestling with aligators, playing polo with a sheep head & lots of even crazier things! Who does that kind of stuff???
Here’s a quiz. Who does this kind of stuff?
- disagrees with the religious & cultural norms
- touches disease infested people, endeavoring to make them better
- welcomes everyone who is ostracized, outcast and isolated
- seemingly abandons his friends at the very worst possible time
- does everything within his power to help people, even when they’re ungrateful
Flirting is an interesting concept. It can be a playful and teasing way to interact with people, but from personal experience (back in the day), it became tiring really fast. Flirting felt like a game to me, a relational game that had very high stakes. When I look up “flirt”, it means to act amorously without serious intentions. Sometimes, I think we flirt with God: we go to church, sing love songs to God, dress up and act like we love God, but we don’t have any serious intentions of making a long term commitment (except when there’s some appealing benefit or carrot that keeps us engaged). Flirting means that we get to pretend without any promises, chat without any change and be shallow without any sacrifice. Let’s be serious about our relationship with God, keep our promises, change and make sacrifices all with God’s Help working throughout out daily living 🙂
I had a really cool discussion last night with some great friends & I was reminded of a quote from Mother Teresa that goes something like: do small things with great love. When I think about this, here are some practical ideas for some small things that can show great love:
*help someone remember your name without making them feel bad
*look for opportunities to give sincere compliments
*hold the door open for a person without expecting a “thank you”
*give a genuine smile when someone is grumpy with you
*dont wait until you feel like it to be nice – let kindness come from your heart & not your feelings 🙂
What are some other ideas that you can share to help us express great love through small things?
Of late, I find myself being challenged to love more authentically. To me, this means that I’m challenged to love w less selfishness & with more generosity. Here’s an interesting example, after church yesterday, Reece took us to a nice restaurant for Easter lunch – the only challenge was that the waitress was having a rough day. Consequently, our meal took more than 2 hours from start to finish. So here’s my choice: be grumpy w the waitress who is already having a tough time or be super kind, generous & helpful. Hopefully, I landed on more of the “kind & generous” side of the choice, even though I felt impatient, etc.
I find God challenging me to love people more genuinely & less for what they can do in return for me – to love without expecting acknowledgment, gratitude or even retribution. Here are some ways that I am being challenged to authentically love:
- time: taking time to listen, engage, be present, to be less impatient & worried about being inconvenienced
- care: to express care by expressing genuine interest – asking questions that reflect concern, interest & engagement
- affirmation: using words that encourage, promote excellence, strengthen a person’s value, brighten another’s day, forgive quickly, validate & affirm the person even when I disagree w their choices or behaviors
I think that God loves the hell out of us in many different ways. I hope He uses me to make His love a daily reality to those with whom I interact – that’s a tall order that only He can accomplish 🙂
When I was speaking in Germany a few years ago, I was at an event where everyone knew what was to be expected. People were to behave w polite decorum, everyone looked freshly laundered & ironed & everything seemed sanitized & sterilized. There was some nice background music, the exchanges among people were un-noteworthy, the presentations were given in the expected manner & after the event, everyone left w possibly no memory of what had happened. For me, the event got lost in the white noise of life. I was one of the presenters at this event & when i drove home, i felt hollow & somewhat disappointed.
When i talked w God about this, He challenged me with the contrast between expected & exceptional. Exceptional living doesn’t always go w the flow. Exceptional living is when we have a normal conversation & something comes up that says, “except . . . ” Exceptional is the stand out – distinct from the crowd, different from the norm, noteworthy & uncommon. The path of least resistence is the expected. But for me, when i walk this path, i feel disingenuous, unauthentic & in disonance. Now clearly, there’s a time to live as expected, but a question worth considering is: do we live the “expected life” too often???
Pls be sure to pray for the people of Iran today.