Today, a quick pick up game of soccer was on the menu, as I often
enjoy the exercise and fun of it all, on a regular basis. The game was as
usual, yet the events almost to the end and thereafter, were unusual for such a game, which generally brings people together. There was a new guy, who came with his buddy to join us today; all was well and the new guy was really trying hard and playing decent, yet as all of us, he had his moments when he did lose the ball. No one made a big deal of the situation, except this one older guy, who was just irate and rude. He kept cursing the new guy, even unto the end. He made statements stemming from advocating that if someone couldn’t understand English, they should not be allowed to play, to vehemently screaming at the new guy “Are you deaf ? ” , all the while with his hand in the guys face, motioning and
making rude gestures !
I wondered why the new guy wasn’t defending himself. However, that limbo in thought came to a screeching halt, when it was confirmed that he was indeed deaf. His buddy told the angry man that he was indeed deaf and he even tried to communicate to him, the displeasure of the angry man in sign language. All the angry man said was that he did not know and that no one told him the new guy was deaf. It was very distasteful to see how he tried to play the victim, when repercussions of his less than human behavior, came back to bite. I felt so very bad for the new guy; he not only had a disability, but he was now being trampled on verbally and he could not even do anything about it.
As they left, I motioned to him to express that it was a good game and that I at least, approved of his effort and Spirit.
I was reminded of the words James wrote: James 1:19-20
“…My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 because human anger does not produce the righteousness that God desires.”
May we observe humanity with our heart and see others with the eyes of Jesus; not reacting to people and situations, but responding in love and redeeming language. Once we allow words to leave our tongues, we cannot change the results, be they good or bad.
Customer service agents spend the greater part of their careers on
the phone, helping, directing, explaining and then some. Often times, they are
greeted with putrid personalities and immature characters amidst the constant
cry for help and assistance. At least they have the evenings after work to take
a break; take some sick days off, or to go on vacation each year.
I firmly believe that no one would ever want to take calls from a
number of people each day, each minute, each hour 24/7. That would drive anyone
crazy. In the movie Bruce Almighty, actor Jim Carey proposes to play the part
of God and begins to go stir crazy, as all the prayers and requests for help
around the world, rings constantly in his ear. Isaiah the prophet tells us that
the lord’s ear is not heavy that he cannot hear… (Isa. 59:1-2).
He does what we as humans could never undertake, keeping our
sanity and function. He sees the good and the evil; he hears the cry for help
of the people fighting addictions; the people being abused and tormented ; the
runaways and the ones imprisoned by their circumstances, or evil and heartless
men who seek to prey upon others. The Lord hears all the troubles and cries of
our world and is ever mindful that justice will run like a river and he will
save us from this world. So to those who say that God is far in the distance,
disconnected and unconcerned, please think again. He carries all the prayers
and feels all the hurt and pain daily—something we cannot even fathom or grasp
and he has promised to make all things right. What a God of concern; what a God
of love !
The quest for intelligent life has shown up where technology is most advanced.
In 1977, the voyager was sent, out to study the atmosphere of planets, and
detect magnetic fields. There was also a message included for other civilizations.
It was also designed to sound out the first movement of Ludwig Beethoven’s 5th
symphony.It seems absurd that man would seek to find intelligent life
on other planets, when on this Planet, we fail to realize that true wisdom and
so much intelligence lies within the people God created, to fellowship with him.
Today, we understand that God did send his own voyager in the person of Christ,
to remind us that intelligent life can be found in the Body of Christ –he didn’t
come to search for it, but to remind us that we have it.
From the beginning of Galatians, Paul asks, “who has bewitched you?” who has duped you into thinking that intelligent life, abundant life can be found somewhere else. What happened to your God-given intelligence? What happened to the SINGS OF INTELLIGENT LIFE?
It is truly amazing to find out that the “Iroquois Indians” attributed divinity to retarded children, gave them an honored place in the tribe, and treated them as gods. In their unselfconscious freedom, they were a transparent window into the Great Spirit – into the heart of Jesus Christ who loves us as we are and not as we should be, in the state of grace or disgrace, beyond caution, boundary, regret, or breaking point.”
So True intelligence is not brain power, but the power of love: to set free, to serve and to grow as a compassionate human in the light of God, for that is what he did for us. So to sum up Galatians 5:1-26, what are these signs? Personal freedom v. 1-6 /Public service v. 7-15/Positive Fruit v. 16-26. A church/people or community living in the presence of the divine would be known by these principles and others would be drawn!
The most outrageous “false model” I have encountered happens to be the following: A local congregation back home spends about $15,000 dollars to pay preachers for a huge Gospel Crusade for the year and no one does follow up on contacts, or even goes out into the fields to really invite others. Fact is, over 80 % of those in the crusade are already members. The
thought was “If you spend it, they will come”. Not in this case!
Incarnational evangelism involves Spreading the Gospel, by firstly PREPARING-
learning the important matters such as Love, Justice, mercy, and salvation. Secondly, PRACTICING- those things on a day to day basis, by assisting all in need, as best you can, whether in material or spiritual things. And lastly, patiently CONTINUING to be an example by showing fruits that you have read, understand and believe scripture. In time, you will have an audience to read scripture with, or answer questions for. This will be the end result of you taking part in their lives FIRST!
This concept is hard to understand in a society built on overnight success, instant coffee,
microwave meals, or ready-made fast food. We don’t want to wait patiently for
good things, cultivating, learning and maturing as we grow. In Christianity, God has no timeline—his goal has always been to guide the spiritual transformation of “quality” people. So what are we in for these days……Quality or Quantity?
“Be flexible; Plans often change swiftly”…. Today, the last of my reflection period, before pen hits paper or fingers hit keyboard, I was called to the hospital, as a brother and his wife were involved in an accident, involving three cars. It was less severe than I imagined (praise be to God), yet pain and patience with regard to waiting on Doctors, greeted the couple both. I went into the emergency room, back and forth between two rooms, where they got separate treatment, the one not knowing where the other was, thus I tried to be a communication link. As I stayed with Joe, he was his ole self, racking up Jokes and telling me where he hurt a little. The accident happened, as they were on their way to the drug store, to refill prescriptions and so on.
So funny that while you journey to a certain place, your path could change so quickly, without warning. I remember Paul in Romans 1, as he prays to go to Rome” by any means”. Maybe he had a more typical and conventional means. Maybe not as a prisoner; maybe a passenger. Maybe not shipwrecked, but stepping out on the ship dock, with tunic and sandal. I was reminded to be flexible in life, especially with our plans regarding what God does with the paths we choose (or at least think we do) ; to be ready at anytime, for one never knows, when your intended destination in normal life, changes, having crossed the path of the equalizing event of eternity: death and separation from living carefully in this body, to final judgment re: the deeds done in this body. Joe and his wife lee are doing much better. May God bless them with Life here and now, as They prepare for real life, in a heavenly bliss; as they remind us, by their, misfortune, to do the same.
Sometimes I read verses of scripture with regard to various
Doctrines and Theological points; I read about Justification, Grace, Atonement
etc, and I struggle to fully understand them. As I sit here in the wee hrs. of the
morning to summarize my thoughts, it seems that I have a small discovery with
regard to my dilemma. You see many of the concepts I read come together
beautifully, In terms of knowledge that I can store and re-enforce intellectually,
yet as I look back on the few days and hours, it has come to “mind” that to
really understand particular themes of the Bible, there is to be an acquisition
of both knowledge and experience, which helps one to know and embrace
understanding, with both heart/emotion and mind. So what is this epiphany in
reference to? Well, it’s in regard to faithfulness. As a child and young adult,
I thought faithfulness was the pursuit of perfection, with a shallow, egoistic thought
in the back of my mind, that I could possibly attain some measure of “Goodness”.
It’s been some time now since I changed that misguided view.
In the words of Leo Tolstoy (Book: The Kingdom of God is within you), with
regard to God granting us blessing, Tolstoy says… “The greater or less blessedness
of a man depends not on the degree of perfection to which he has attained, but
on the greater or less swiftness with which he is pursuing it”.
I think faithfulness can be summed up as the desperate pursuit of God
and his reign in our lives; we shall fall and be defeated time and time again
by that which we try to overcome, yet we must not stop believing, trying and
progressing towards the SON. When we stop, we grow weak, discouraged and begin
the slow fade to a powerless life. So today, I guess I understand something about
Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness of sins—I know the verses and I know the feelings
through experience, which helps me to appreciate the blessings and also be
appreciative of the intellectual understanding of it, without being boastful or
full of self based on pure knowledge. May God help us to be faithful, ever journeying
back home, where he stands outside the courts, waiting for prodigals like