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The Joys of Miss Communication

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Hello, Hallo, chíkmàa, Servus, صباح الخير, kaixo, pryvitańnie, Wai, hafa?, sga-noh, hola, Muribwanji, 你好, hej, hutch-e-lul-lul-o, kuzu-zangpo, hyvää päivää, salut, grüß Gott, huthegelluthego, Γεια σου, aloha, shalom, góðan da, Dia duit, こんにちは konnichi wa, Yow Wah gwaan, kwe kwe, Dev baro dis div, salaam or do-rood, atswhay upay?, bees-e-lees-e, barey, Selam,….

Have you ever noticed how two three a hundred people can read the same thing, hear the same thing, and have a different response based on several factors.  These factors include our cultural filters (I typed flitters first – should I have kept it??), our upbringing filters, our worldview filters, our family filters, our experience filters, our belief filters, and millions many more.

 

 

One reason I love writing about communication involves the miscommunications that happen every single day whenever two people try to communicate.  It gives me more fodder for my blog and teaches me more about communication.  As a people watcher, I love, love, love watching and listening to others (or reading posts and comments).

 

 

 

Montage of languages. Prototype header for the...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

 

 

The other day, I took my oldest Granddaughter to Chick Filet.  While she was playing, I was listening to two friends behind me having a conversation.  One was obviously more of a talker and an interrupter.  The less-talking friend was trying to tell something to the other.  Every couple minutes few seconds, the more-talker would interrupt her in mid-sentence to insert her own thoughts, questions, and analogies.  I presume she was going for clarification, but what she was doing was being rude!

 

As time when on, I could feel the frustration emanating from the less-talker as she would say, “Well, anyway” and go back to the story.  She was not going to get side-tracked, no matter how often she was interrupted, also rude in some contexts.  Eventually, the story was told, but I’m guessing less-talker did not feel good about it, and more-talker probably missed the entire point of the exercise.  Since my back was to them, I could grin with delight as I listened without offending them.  Poor less-talker needs to give her friend a lesson on boundaries.

 

I am not immune either.  My daughter and I speak a different language.  I speak American English, but I have no idea what language she speaks.  I just know the atmosphere is rife with potential miscommunication every time we speak.  I usually believe I was clear about my speech, but somehow, it gets all screwed up because she doesn’t speak the language.  How do you overcome this?  I don’t know, but it’s a lot of fun to watch in other people.  Not so fun to find oneself in the middle, however.  If these things did not happen in our fallen world, what would we watch on Television or laugh at??

 

 

Thank the Lord His communication is clear.  I want a show of keyboards hands – Who understands God’s Words completely?  Hmmmmmm.  Well, in this case, we know the problem is not His.  The problem is that we use our flitters filters when we talk to or listen to Him.  It helps to ask Him to make His word clear to us before we read the Bible or pray or listen to a sermon or read an article or ….   This is especially true with the Old Testament.

 

 

 

I used to believe God was always serious until I ‘heard’ Him laugh one day at a little ‘joke’ He was playing on us.  (See theTurkeyStory). 

 

 

 

Many young ladies (and old ones) have difficulty relating to God as Father because their own fathers were less than perfect.

 

 

 

Some have difficulty with the “obey Me” thing, projecting their feminism and/or independence onto God’s thoughts (men are not immune).

 

 

 

Communication

Communication (Photo credit: P Shanks)

♦What are some ways you flitter filter what you hear from God?  From others?

 

♦Do you enjoy the melodramas all around you as people seek to communicate without really having a clue how to speak to someone in their own language? 

 

♦Do you have any advice about how to remove your filters from your listening/communicating? 

 

♦Do you have a funny story to tell?  I’d love to hear it! 

 

♦Response is always in your court.  If you’re busy, just move on, but if you have something to say, here’s your chance.  🙂

 

What do you attract or the Brian Cookie Story

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If you haven’t heard this before, I teach a Sunday School class of 7th, 8th, and 9th graders.  When I first started with this class, we started late every week because they were out searching for food.  So, knowing the age group and wanting them there on time, I began bringing donuts to class every week.  It is now a few years down the road (4?) and my husband now often makes something for me to take in.  I will have to confess it is seldom healthy, but it’s once a week and it works  (did I mention I have mostly boys?).  One of their favorite things is when  Brian sends anything edible chocolate chip cookies.  He sends a big container and all of them are prepared to die as they know not one will return home.

 

 

 

Missing chocolate chip cookie.

Missing chocolate chip cookie. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What happens when Brian cookies come to church?

 

First, former students now in another class often drop in and grab a bite before heading to class (especially for cookies).  Then my students polish off most of the rest.  I try to rescue a few for others because after class, I often have three little girls (future students for me?) show up in my room.  They stand there quietly and look at me with big eyes, waiting for me to give the command that allows them to get a cookie (or two) after ascertaining they have permission from the parents.  Last week, I had two people stop me on the way to the sanctuary to ‘taste’ the cookies and make sure they were good enough (lol).  Once they cookies make it to the sanctuary, I have a following of those who hope there are a few crumbs left for them.  A cookie has even given it’s life in service to a person who was having a low blood sugar episode.

 

Did I mention these cookies are GOOD?   Brian has perfected them, and they (and he) have a major fan base.

 

The point of this narrative?

 

The point of telling this story is not to brag on Brian’s cookies or to tell stories about the cookie monsters lovers among us.  If you’ve been with me a while, you probably feel an analogy coming on….

 

Chocolate Chip Cookies 009

Chocolate Chip Cookies 009 (Photo credit: MGF/Lady Disdain)

The analogy arrives:

 

Brian cookies ATTRACT.  They smell good; they taste good; they look good; they go great with milk.  In fact, the crowd they are accumulating of volunteer taste testers is getting quite large and grows every time they show up.

 

Christians should ATTRACT.  If we have Christ in us and seek to live a life guided by the Holy Spirit, we will be a different, peculiar, unique people.  We will have something others want.  They will seek us out and drink deeply of it, even if they don’t understand what it is.  They will want what we have:  a real relationship with the Creator that makes a difference in our lives and our interactions with others.

 

For example, I was having a conversation with someone who was very angry at another person.  I understood the anger, but I told them that I love her deeply in spite of it.  The person said, “Well, I sure don’t know how you do it!”  What a great opportunity to explain that the love I have, even for the unlovely, is not about me.  It is Christ’s love in me.  {Disclaimer:  I am an imperfect sinner just like everyone else, but sometimes God uses me anyway.}

 

If you maintain that relationship, continue to grow, and make yourself available, these times will come.  Others will see how you respond so differently from what is expected.  They will want to know how you do it.  You will have an opportunity to share.

 

Conversation in my SS class (when the cookies show up) often contains comments like this:  “these are soooooo good!”; “how does he do that?”;  “when is he going to make them again?”; and so on.  The students recognize that these cookies are special.  Why?  Because they know the baker, and they have tasted the goodness before.  Others will recognize God’s goodness in you and wonder how, why, what, and more as your light shines in the darkness, beckoning others to come and see.

 

What kind of cookie are you?                      Is anyone else getting hungry?????????????????????????????

Day 13/365 Today, I discovered the greatness o...

Strobist info: snooted 430EX @1/2 power directed at top of glass triggered by a 580EXII (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

{Disclaimer:  This blog post is not responsible for diet mishaps–wanna cookie?}

 

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I Princess!

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Yesterday, my granddaughter found my knitting looms.  She put one on her head and walked around going, “I princess!”  She also loaded herself up with treasures (jewels) from Grandma’s treasure box. (A box of kids ‘treasures’ they are allowed to play with.) She wasn’t very cooperative with Grandma trying to get a picture, but here she is:

“I Princess!”

Oh for the trust of a 2 year old!  She is fully aware that she is special with no doubts whatsoever.  The day before we were having a discussion about who loves her.  To my surprise, she said, “Gramma luv me.”  She then proceeded to go down the list, “Jesus luv me”, “Daddy luv me”, “Mommy luv me”, and so on.  Wow!

Later, during the quiet hours after she has gone to sleep and Grandma is nodding off, God reminded me that “I Princess!”  So much of life rubs away at that trust as we proceed through life.  Harsh words, hurt feelings, and worse happen to us and we internalize it, thinking something is wrong with us instead of the other person.  I’m not sure I’ve ever met an adult who does not have  or has had self-esteem issues.  That little devil sits on our shoulder whispering lies to us about the events of our lives.

Grandpa:  “Linda was so cute when she….”

The enemy’s whisper:  “See, he doesn’t think you’re cute or he wouldn’t talk about her all the time.”

The truth:  He is talking about Linda because she is not there and I am.

This is but one minor example of how we take someone’s actions or words and make it all about us when, in reality, it may (and probably does) have nothing at all to do with us.  I see this clearly in my grandchildren as they pout over perceived slights, holler ‘not fair’, or act out to take attention from another.  Ah, that sin nature makes itself seen so early!

As Grandma, I try to counter those lies when I see them.  Unfortunately, they don’t always listen or understand.   As adults, it is imperative that we look back through those hurts in our lives and shine some truth on them.  We all know people who are bitter and negative because of “all the things that happened to them”.  It’s not pretty.  Their lives are not pretty.  They spread their poison to everyone who enters their lives.  How sad!

What lies have you believed?  Do you recognize that God and many others really love you, like you, and want to be with you?  Do you understand that you are a ‘prince’ or ‘princess’.  Do you understand how much God loves you and how much He wants to do for, through, and with you?  Have you allowed the truth to eradicate the negative feelings or behaviors you have picked up over the years?  Do you realize that you only see part of a picture? 

I hope next time you start feeling down about yourself or your accomplishments, you will put on your crown and say, “I Princess!” or “I Prince!” and bask in the love that has been freely given to you.  YOU are SPECIAL!

CB: Criticism Part II

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In the last post, I gave you a story about some deadly criticism in my own life.  To talk about what she did wrong, let’s go back to what she didn’t do.

1.  She did not give specifics as to the exact nature of the problem.

2.  She picked out two wrongs and harped on them at length focused attention on them instead of evaluating the entire performance and giving positive feedback with the negative.

3.  Rather than use a professional voice and an evaluation sheet, she yelled in front of my supervising classroom teacher (and the students).

4.  Her rant ripped me to shreds instead of building me up.  In other words, it did nothing to help me better myself.

5.  Her rant was all about her really, and not about me or my overall performance at all.

Escaping Criticism

Escaping Criticism (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

So taking the above, how can we make a list of things to help us criticize(critique) well?

1.  Always give specifics about the nature of the criticism.  A person cannot change something if they don’t fully understand what it is that needs changed. {And yes, I better insert here that the person has the choice of changing or not.}

2.  A criticism that picks out one fly in the ointment one or two things without evaluating the whole is criticism that does not help.  All of us make errors in judgment and grammar and more at times.  Every little mistake does not need harped on criticized.

3.  There is no need to use a raised voice, foul language, or humiliation in critiques.  This behavior defeats the purpose and cuts off any possibility of the other person really hearing what you’re trying to say.  High horse riding Overtones of superiority also fall in this category.

4.  “They” say that you need at least 3 positive statements for each negative.  I have heard as many as 8 to 1.  When you take it upon yourself to criticise, evaluate the entire thing.  Start with several positive aspects and things done well.  Build them up.  Then, if you feel you must, point out a couple of things the person could have done better.  If possible, provide feedback about HOW they could do it better in the future.

5.  It’s not about you.  If you feel the need to violate any of these rules of criticism, you have not taken yourself out of the equation.  It’s not about you.  The sole focus of critique should be on the other person and helping them. It’s not about you.  It is not to make you feel better.  It is not to let you feel superior to others.  It is to help someone improve. It’s not about you.

positive feedback virtuous circle

positive feedback virtuous circle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

While the criticism in the story was a professional criticism.  Criticism happens in almost every relationship we have.  It most certainly happens in marriages and families.  It can destroy others, and is not to be used lightly!

Questions for thought:

Do you have a critical tongue?  Do you follow the rules of proper criticism or do you follow the way of my college supervisor?  Think about a time when someone else’s criticism has hurt you in some way; is this what you want others to feel when you help them?  Criticism has it’s place, but it must be used sparingly and carefully.  Do you agree or disagree?  How will you change your own method of criticism if needed? 

The Weaver

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THE WEAVER

My life is but a weaving

Between my Lord and me.

I cannot choose the colors

He worketh steadily.

Oftimes he weaveth sorrow,

And I know foolish pride

Forget He sees the upper

And I, the underside.

Not till the loom is silent

And the shuttles cease to fly

Shall God unroll the canvas

And explain the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful

In the Weaver’s skillfun hand

As the threads of gold and silver

In the pattern He has planned

~ Author Unknown

~*~

~*~

In cleaning out my dad’s room, I found this old poem in one of his books. It was like finding an old friend. This poem is one of my favorites, because it reminds me that I am not God, I am not the center of the universe, and I am not all-knowing, all-seeing, or all-powerful!  To seek to understand everything that happens in my life is a fool’s task.  God is the only one who sees His plan from beginning to end.  I do not.  I must trust that, when I do see the final tapestry, it will take my breath away in its beauty, its complexity, and its rightness.  If you’ve ever looked at the underside of a tapestry, you will know what I mean.

~*~

 Today I challenge you to look at your beliefs, and see if you are looking (and critiqueing) by the underside of your tapestry (or anothers).

Where was God when….?

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Along with the survivor stories we all have, are those from people who do not feel like survivors or have lost loved ones.  I know one person who lost a loved one in the Indiana tornados and several who have loved ones that survived it.  One tornado was <10 miles from the trailer where my son, daughter-in-law, and all my grandchildren live (next to my sister).  I know how quickly life can turn.

Last time we talked about survivor stories, but today I’d like to talk about the other side.

What if it were my family planning a funeral or figuring out what to do with nothing to our names right now?  Would God still be good?  To that I give a resounding: YES!  Believe it or not, I’ve had some pretty awful things happen to me and/or those I love.  Life is like that:  it comes with the good and the bad.  People have a tendency to give credit to God in the survival stories, but often blame Him when the bad things take away life or possessions.

Where was God…

…when fifteen-month-old Angel Babcock was pulled from a mobile home to land in a field some distance away?  Where was God when her mother, father, and two siblings were killed by the same tornado?  Where was God when little Angel let go of life yesterday?  Why this family and not another?

I am not God, so I can’t answer all the questions.  I do know God, however, so I can say this:  God was there.  He was with them as they crouched in fear, hearing the sounds of destruction coming for them.  He was there as those lives were taken and that baby was laid in a field.  He was there with Angel as she drew her last breath and went to join her family.

God has a plan

God loves each and every one of us.  He loves us in a way we may never understand, for His love is beyond understanding.  We never go through anything that God does not know about.  For some of us, that is comforting.  For others, those who do not know God’s love or cannot see it in their moment of darkness, may see it as a reason to blame God for what they see as a curse.

The truth is that we cannot determine if something is a blessing or curse at the time of its happening.  In every one of the tragic events of my life, God has woven His love throughout the experience.  Sometimes I couldn’t feel it at the time, but always, in looking back (or in looking up in the midst) I see Jesus.  He was there, and God’s fingerprints were everywhere.

Where was God when…

One of the darkest moments of my life was when my Mother passed away.  One of the most beautiful times of my life was when my Mother passed away.  What?  How can it be both?

Given 6 months to live after a cancer diagnosis, my mother managed to live 11 months.   Not only did she live that long, she went to WalMart only a few days before her death.  Having seen several cancer deaths, this was an unexpected blessing.  I stayed with them during this time, going home on some weekends to see my husband and daughter, to help take care of her.  We had a great time, one that can never be taken from me, during this.  We were out and about almost every day.  Many times you could find us shopping at WalMart and being silly.  We liked to make up languages to speak just to make heads turn.  There were hard times here, but the time spent together, the time to go over old pictures and hear old stories, the time to prepare — all of these were priceless.

I had gone home when I got the call that Mom was in the hospital.  The plan was hospice, but a football-sized, matastasized tumor in her stomach broke in two and the pain was unmanageable at home.  I was so grateful to have missed this moment with her.  She was in the hospital only a few days.  Watching her die, watching the pain and confusion in her eyes, watching my dad sobbing over her and telling her he’d marry her all over again, all of that was a deep, deep pain.  But through it all, God was there.  All the family was able to gather in her hospital room.  We sang hyms; we prayed; we cried; we hugged; we watched a beautiful woman slip away to glory.  She would not go until my second son was able to make it, so we were gathered around her bed, holding hands, as she escaped the bonds of her body and went to meet her Jesus.  It was awful!  It was beautiful!  It was priceless!

You see circumstances are simply that:  circumstances.  They do not determine much, but how we respond to them, how we look at them makes all the difference.  If I had not been looking for the God, if I had been focusing on the pain, I would have missed a beautiful thing.

God gives us free will and that brings a lot of pain when we choose sin.  But, even in all our willful mess, He came to give us a way to Him – because He LOVES us!  Love isn’t about feelings.  Feelings come and go.  God never goes.  He is always there, even in the middle of the biggest storm.  Look up into the eyes of Jesus. Raise your hand and ask Him to pull you up and walk with you back to the boat.

Do you see God’s hand in the hard times?

How do you feel about this post?  Some of you may feel differently.

Go back to your survival story and look for God’s fingerprints.   Share them here if you wish.

Can you “Praise Him in the Storm”?

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uHdcyue0bSw

Survival Stories

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A headline on my news feed this morning read, “Survival stories emerge from victims.”  This was in regard to the deadly tornadoes that hit last Friday.  This reminded me that life is often about survival.  Yes, we can emerge victorious from the trials of life, but while we’re in them, we are in survival mode.

The wonderful thing about this is that survival is possible.  People can go through horrible life circumstances and emerge, not unscathed, but often better for having gone through the experience.  No, not everyone will survive and not everyone will thrive, but the indomitable spirit of human kind often emerges through hardship.  This is true of those going through the experience and those who seek to help them.

Upon hearing about the tragedies of loss and death, many people stepped up to help.  People see the need, have compassion, and put their hands to the task in whatever way they can.  In all the mess going on in our world, it is good to see that people still care about one another and that survivor stories are still alive and well.

 

What can we learn from the tornados and other life experiences?

  1. Things don’t matter.
  2. People matter.
  3. Life is short.
  4. Time is not promised.
  5. Say I love you now.
  6. Don’t count on tomorrow.
  7. Don’t wait.
  8. Human need transcends our differences.
  9. Character is exposed in the hard times of life.
  10. You can survive hard things.
  11. You don’t have to survive hard things alone.
  12. God and much of mankind will stand with you.

 

I have survivor stories.  In fact, I have many survivor stories.  I call them “God Stories” and collect them in my faith scrap-book.  They remind me of the things that matter, and that my God is always there, even in the darkest night.

This is my challenge to you today:  Do you have survivor stories?  How has hardship brought you to a better place and revealed your character and/or the character of God?  You can share in two ways:  1) Share your story in the comments. or 2) Share your story in a blog post and share your link in the comments.  It can be about anything, not just tornados….     You may also share other lessons we can learn.   I am looking forward to reading your stories. 🙂

 

My tornado God story: 

In 197?  a tornado struck Franklin, Ky, where I lived at the time.  I was reading, laying on my mom’s bed and looking out the window, when I saw a black wall coming toward  us.  I ran into the Living Room where my Father was gathering my Mother and siblings.  He had us lay on the floor with his arms over us.  At one point, the roof of our house lifted up and slammed back down.  Later, we discovered that a large tree in our front hard had cracked and fallen on the roof, holding it on.  All around us was devastation, but our house still stood.  Some say coincidence, but I know it was God’s protection.  Why us and not others, that is not up to me.  However, I am glad allowed us to come through it unscathed.  My parents, as pastor and wife, were able to go out and help others recovering from the same storm.

Fast forward a great deal to a time I was heading up to my step-grandmothers.  Things kept happening to keep me from leaving when I wanted to.  I was half an hour late leaving.  Up north, driving through the outer parts of a tornadic storm, I come across some devastation where a tornado had gone through 1/2 hour before I got there.     The same thing happened Friday.  Had I been much later heading home, I would have been in danger on the highway in hard hit areas – with two grandkids in the van!

 

I have learned that God’s timing is important.  Impatience plays no part in waiting on God, even though we think it does.  Just goes to show that we are not as ‘in control’ as we think we are:)

He is NOW…

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“MY GRACE IS SUFFICIENT FOR THEE”

When, sin-stricken, burdened, and weary,

From bondage I longed to be free,

There came to my heart the sweet message:

“My grace is sufficient for thee.”

Though tempted and sadly discouraged,

My soul to this refuge will flee,

And rest in the blessed assurance:

“My grace is sufficient for thee.”

My bark may be tossed by the tempest

That sweeps o’er the turbulent sea—

A rainbow illumines the darkness:

“My grace is sufficient for thee.”

O Lord, I would press on with courage,

Though rugged the pathway may be,

Sustained and upheld by the promise:

“My grace is sufficient for thee.”

Soon, soon will the warfare be over,

My Lord face to face I shall see,

And prove, as I dwell in His presence:

“My grace is sufficient for thee.”

                                                                               —  Samuel Longfellow

Last Sunday’s sermon had a nugget or two for me to walk away with and ponder.  One was the phrase “My grace is sufficient for you.”  As my pastor pointed out, the phrase says IS, not was, not will be, not should be, not could be, IS.  Say it with me:

 

His grace IS sufficient for me!

There are parts of our lives where we go along our merry way, sufficient unto ourselves for the needs of the day (or so we think).  And then life hits.  A loved one dies, a job is lost, health is lost, or some of the many, many other things that can hit us in the solar plexis and make us wonder how we’re going to make it through.

It is then that this reminder sticks in our head, and even more importantly, in our heart.  It abides there, reminding us that:

 

We cannot go through this in our own sufficiency.

We DO not go through this in our own sufficiency.

 

He offers us His sufficiency.

 His sufficiency IS all that we need.

 

Wow!

MY grace IS!

My grace is sufficient,

Just trust me and see!

Don’t look at the waves,

Just lean hard into me.

Whatever the problem

You’re facing this day,

Assume, like the child

Dad will make it okay.

I see all your tears;

They’re not lost on me.

Feel me wipe them away

As you sit on my knee.

Just trust me my child

For I know what’s ahead.

I’ve got it, sweet one

So lay back on your bed.

Dream dreams of peace

Leave it all up to me

My grace is sufficient,

Just trust me and see!

                                        — Angela Masters Young   

                                                         © 2/29/2012

 

 

How has His grace been sufficient for you?

Is it a struggle for you to trust in the midst of the storm?

 

suf·fi·cient — adequate for the purpose; enough: sufficient proof; sufficient protection.

IT IS ENOUGH

Communication busters: What lens are you looking through?

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Before we get to the meat of this post, I would like to go back and make a few comments on another.  In my response to Miro’s poem, Christians, I was reminded that this is nothing new.  True.  Those who do not want to be bothered with Christianity have been hating it and it’s proponents through the ages.  Many will continue to do so no matter how well Christians act.   I was also reminded that what I said may be misconstrued.  This is true as well.  And that leads me to this post.   The reason my words might be misconstrued is that we all tend to look through different lenses.  The Christian might read my post and understand completely what I was trying to say.  The non-Christian may see something else.  For instance,  I did not mean that Christian’s need to meet other’s ideas of proper behavior.  They need to meet God’s criteria.  Others will disagree, and that’s their business.

 

Knowing we have these lenses, it makes sense to take a second look at everything we see/hear/read/etc., as we navigate our world.  Are we seeing the truth or have we donned our own biased lenses to view it.  Misunderstandings abound because of this tendency.  We use the same words, but they have different meanings.  For the Christian, this means we need to see things through God’s lenses.  How does God see this person/situation/…?  If the Christian will look at his or her world through the lens of God’s eyes, we would better know what to do in each situation.  I apologize for the rather disorganized thoughts in this post, but it is what it is.

 

Lens 1:   God does not hate homosexuals conservatives democrats tea partiers occupiers gossips gluttons adulterers _______.  God hates SIN!   When God looks at a person, He sees the heart.  He may hate the sin the person is bound to, but He does not hate him or her.  He loved him or her enough to provide a way back to Him from their sinful condition.  Christians have to walk a line.  We are not to say bad is good, but we are to love the person.  This is an issue I struggle with, not because I don’t love the person, I do.  I struggle because I also have a deep need to speak God’s truth.  God reminds me that there is a time and a place for everything, even speaking truth.  I can speak the truth and still love.  This love is not dependent on other’s acceptance of it.  I love because God loves and gives me the grace to love others despite how they treat me or feel about me.

 

Lens 2:  If I do ____________  or don’t do ___________  I am better than others.  No, you’re not!  God’s criteria is the same for every person.  You cannot earn it.  You cannot get to it by following a list of “do”s and “don’t”s.  When we give Christ our sin, He gives us His righteousness.  It is the only righteousness that is good enough to meet God’s standards.  Our attempts at personal righteousness outside of Christ are pathetic at best.  This lens looks around and compares to others.  God’s lens looks at Christ and compares only to Him.  If we are wearing His righteousness, we make the cut.  If we are still trying to get good enough on our own, we do not.

 

Lens 3:  I have __________, so God must be happy with me and blesses me more than others.  NOT!   God doesn’t look at the things you have or don’t have when determining how or when to bless you.  He looks at your heart.  He looks at your future and what will be best for you.  He looks at your relationship with Jesus.  We cannot determine for ourselves whether something is a blessing or a curse.  Look at Job.  His life looked like a blessing, then looked like a curse, and then looked like a blessing.  None of what happened to him was because of something he did or didn’t do wrong.  You have to look through God’s lens to see whether something is a blessing or not.   Any time we elevate ourselves above other people, we better watch out.  That is pride and pride is not from God.

 

 

There are many more lenses, but I’m going to stop here.  What lenses do you see out there that keeps Christians from living like they should, bringing glory to God?   Can you see through God’s lens?    Has there been a time when you were looking at a situation or person in a certain way and God showed you how He sees the situation/person?  How did this effect/affect you?  What do you believe are some of the biggest distortions in our lenses that keep us from knowing truth?

A post in reaction to Miro’s poem: Christians

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Christians  by Miro

Today I read this poem by Miro about “Christians”.   It made me cry because it’s way too true.  I am sure there have been times that I have inadvertently harmed the cause of Christ.  I would never do it on purpose, though.  I hate that “Christians” often give Christians a black eye in the eyes of the world.

I am not talking about legitimate righteous anger.

I am not talking about calling sin sin.

I am talking about Christians who talk the talk in church, and then forget about God through the rest of the week.

Some of these people are well meaning Christians who have no idea they are giving a bad empression.  Others are goats among the sheep.  They have no real relationship with the Father, only giving lip service to something they don’t really own.  I have recently learned that just because I know the truth, does not mean it is the correct time or place to trot it out there, for it, and Christ will be rejected.  If someone asks, I will speak the truth, but I have learned (I hope) to pick my battles a little more wisely.

 

The Bi-polar Posters/Speakers

One issue involves facebook, other social sites, and words.  OMG means Oh, My God!  Taking the name of the Lord in vain is not OK for Christians, even if it is in an acronym,  and it leaves a bad taste in the mouth of those who see it and hear it.  Then there are those that praise God with their mouth on Sunday and then tell or snicker at dirty jokes through the week.  Still others will post these wonderful, godly things and then post something that is inappropriate or off color.  We post our praises and then confess our adiction to shows that dishonor God.  God calls this “double-minded”, but the world calls it two-faced.

Rage-a-holics

These people are ready at the drop of a hat to start spewing rage and hatred at others, rather than see them as God sees them.  They rail against sinners for being sinners rather than loving them to Christ.  I’m not saying there’s not a time and place for anger, there is.  I am saying that we need to make sure this is anger God approves.  One verse I try to keep in mind as I negotiate these waters is this:

“The wrath of man worketh not the righteousness of God.”  James 1:20

 

I’m better than you priders

This is a hard line to walk if we want to come across as humble rather than prideful.  We are not better than anyone else; we’re just forgiven.  This happens between “Christians” as well as between Christians and the world.   Slipping into hypocrit pharisee mode is too easy, and Christians must guard their heart against allowing this to happen.  When Christ is in our hearts and we pursue a deepening relationship with Him, we let go of pride as we realize just how wretched we really are in comparison to him.  Pride comes when we compare ourselves to others; humility comes when we compare to Christ.

The state of the world

The state of our world is not the fault of sinners doing what sinners do.  It is the Christian who has responsibility for, “if my people, which are called by my name, shal humble themselves, and pray, and seek my face, and turn from their wicked ways; then will I hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin, and will heal their land.” II Chronicles 7:14

This post is really a step outside of the norm, but I don’t do it to condemn.  I have been guilty just like everyone else.  We are sinners who will continue to struggle with our sin nature for as long as we are on this earth, but we can do better.  This is a call to repentence for all of us.  It’s ok if you disagree with me, but I hope those of us who claim the name “Christian” you will seek to remove those quotes by living a life that points others to Christ.  When we earnestly seek His face, we will become the salt and light that makes the world want to know what’s going on.

For those of you who have kindly taken the time to read this post even though you don’t claim the name Christian, just be patient with us.  It’s easy to discern the real from the fake if you watch close enough.  Christianity, truly lived, draws others to want what this person has that makes him or her so different.

Watch and pray that you may not enter into temptation. The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.

Mark 14: 38 ESV

::stepping off my soapbox::                               I love you all!

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