how do you think about yourself?

When I was growing up, my parents say that I was generally a pretty easy kid to correct.  I was super sensitive & eager to please my parents, so they often didn’t have to get emotionally ramped up for me to be obedient.  They didn’t need to yell at me or threaten or take extreme measures because I was generally very compliant.  While this was great for my parents, it has been difficult on me from time to time, as I can be SUPER hard on myself.  When I make mistakes or poor decisions, its easy for me to grind myself into the ground & I have to really watch my thinking to prevent a depressing meltdown.

So here’s something God has encouraged me with in the last few days.  In Prov 30:10, it tells us not to slander the servant of another master.  Because I’ve given my life to God, I am His servant and as such, He commands me not to slander His servant – not just others, but also myself.  Does this mean that I ignore my shortcomings & areas that need growth?  Of course not.  But what I think God intends by this verse is that we keep our eyes on our Master, letting Him correct & grow us: sensitive to Him but not slanderous of ourselves 🙂

help me with some people skills

When I was growing up, my parents would always encourage me to develop my people skills – I still need to work on this area.  I remember them saying that while I could learn lots of book knowledge, I would USE people skills every day and they’re right.  People skills are really important – so here are a few things that I’m learning & I would LOVE for you to add your insights on what you feel are important people skills to develop 🙂

Here are some ideas to get our conversation  started:

  • respect – regardless of your frame of mind or preconceived ideas, each person with whom we interact needs respect, even if they’re behaving in disrespectful ways.  I’ve never regretted being respectful, but I’ve always regretted being disrespectful
  • serving others – when I get my mind to look for ways to help or serve others, rather than expecting to be served, I’m almost always deeply content & satisfied in ways that far eclipse the times when I am served
  • humility – the attitude of “all that & a bag of chips” has never really worked for me;  it almost always sabotages any kind of constructive interaction
  • encouragement – I’ve found that people flourish & blossom with encouragement & genuine praise more than put downs & degradation.
  • silence is golden – its very important to screen your thoughts before they’re expressed from your lips.  When I say less, it seems that people think more of me – what a shock ,)

So what are some people skills you have or would like to have?  Whadya think???

gifts continued

presentsLast night at church, I spoke about generosity.  I think this is an interesting topic, given the current economic climate in the US.  I’ll cut to the core quick here:  I think that particularly in this season, it would be extremely appropriate for us to consider the different ways that we can give to Jesus, besides monetarily.  I think we can give Him our service, keeping in mind what He talked about in Matt 25:40, when He was discussing visiting the sick, clothing the naked, feeding the hungry & thirsty, receiving the stranger & visiting those in prison.  In the context of the parable Jesus is sharing related to all of these needs, Jesus explains that when we care even for the least person, that we’re caring for Him.

We can also give more of our self to Jesus – like the sinful woman who washed & dried Jesus’ feet w her tears & hair, and anointed Jesus head w expensive oil.  Jesus explained the heart of her generosity when He said, “He who has been forgiven much, loves much.  But he who has been forgiven little, loves little.”  Let’s love Jesus alot.

p.s. can i just say that i’m UBER-EXCITED bc i get to go snowboarding tomorrow w some cool peeps.  yahoooooooooo!

a deeper look at Philippians 2:5-8

I received some really good feedback asking for a little more of a deeper look at verses 5-8 than yesterday’s blog – so, here’s an attempt. 🙂

When Paul talks about having the same mind, understanding & attitude as Christ, he tells us this using the command form of the verb.  He’s not making a suggestion, or having a flash of brillance or even coming up with a good idea.  He is commanding us to have the same mind & attitude as Christ has.  From here, I believe that Paul demonstrates what he means by “having the same mind / attitude” in the next few points. 

First, in relation to position, Jesus did not “regard equality with God as something to be grasped.”  (NET)  Literally, not gripping supposing to be equal to God.  Humans are big on positions – 1st string Varsity, Treasurer of Student Council, Chief Operations Officer, . . . .  But of all the people who have ever lived & had a right to claim or hold onto a position, Jesus, being the Son of God would be the person most entitled to claim & hold onto His rightful position & status.  Knowing what Jesus did, we are commanded to have His mind & attitude, not demanding or clinging to a position we may have – whether we earned it, deserve it, were born with it or whatever.  Jesus, the 2nd person of the Trinity, was born in a manger.

Next, Jesus emptied Himself – not of His divinity, but of His glory.  Seems like there are lots of examples of Him emptying Himself – from his 40 day fast when He was led into the wilderness by the Holy Spirit, to welcoming children to bless them, to making breakfast for Peter after he had denied Jesus.  But I’d like your input on how we can empty ourselves.  What ways have you found helpful to be more empty?

After emptying, Paul says that Jesus took the form of a servant.  I did  a little more checking into the word Paul uses here for servant & this word, doulos, was considered to be one of the worst positions a person could have in life.  The will of a doulos was completely subjected to his master’s desires & in some cases, a doulos was considered to be almost sub-human.  They had no rights, privileges, social status, possessions or position.  And Jesus took this form – keeping in mind that Paul tells us to have the same mind & attitude as Jesus.  Clearly, the idea of becoming a servant like this, flies in the face of all modern convenience or paradigms.  Nevertheless, we are commanded to serve, even live a life of service, no matter how menial the task may be or seem.

After taking the form of a servant, Paul says that Jesus came in the likeness of man.  Yesterday, we saw that this word likeness is where we get our word, “scheme”.  Remember that Jesus is fully God, as though He were not man & fully man as though He were not God.  Since we already are humans, my take on what Paul means when he says to have the same mind as Christ, in relation to the likeness of man, is that we not take ourselves so seriously. 

Finally, after doing all these things, Paul says that Jesus humbled Himself & became obedient to death on the crossI don’t think there was any way that Jesus could humble Himself more than what He underwent through His death.  If you want to look into what all this entailed with more depth, here are a few websites as starting points:  http://www.konnections.com/Kcundick/crucifix.html & http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crucifixion

So, hopefully, there’s a little more depth for you here.  Let us know if you have any suggestions on implementing any &/or all of these points into your daily living.

Next week, we’ll be going through 2:9-18, so I’d encourage you to read these verses everyday, as part of your quiet time w God.  🙂