Bits, Pieces, Odds, Ends – 13

Quiet me, Lord,that I may experience you and worship you.
Embolden me, Lord, that I may serve you and testify of you.
Guide me, Lord, to appropriate times, places and methods of both.

Jesus is my only current and eternal security.

As a child of God I should strive to be informed about Jesus so I can be transformed by Jesus.

Ultimate wisdom is complete oneness with God.

The degree to which I can behave like Jesus depends on the degree to which I am like Jesus.

Jesus, the healer of body and spirit, allows us to visit him whenever and as often as we please. No appointments are necessary and walk-ins are welcome.

Jesus spent more time teaching than healing. He placed spiritual growth above physical health. Do my priorities match his?

When strangers visit my church, do they meet people who want to help them and love them or people who want to only count them?

Eating from Trash Cans

A woman had three sons, each of them married with children of their own. All three were scheduled to arrive at her house at 11:00 for lunch on Thanksgiving Day.

For days she carefully planned the menu. Most of Wednesday was spent cooking desserts. She put the turkey in the oven at 5:00 Thanksgiving morning.  The table was adorned with her best dishes and gleaming, polished silverware. By 10:45 everything was ready. She had done her best and she was pleased with her efforts.

Then she heard voices and strange noises from the area behind the house where the trash cans were stored. When she looked outside she could hardly believe her eyes. There were all three of her boys, along with their families, sitting in a circle around the trash containers. They were eating from the trash cans.

Using the can lids as serving trays they were eating potato and apple peels, carrot tops, and orange rinds. As she watched they scraped out what was left from the discarded vegetable cans and frozen food boxes.

She rushed outside, horrified at their behavior. “All of you come into the house this instant,” she cried.” This is crazy. I have a wonderful meal for you in there. Why would you want to eat garbage out here when I have turkey and mashed potatoes and hot rolls and apple pie on the table in the kitchen?”

The oldest boy replied “I’m sure you have a good meal inside, but we don’t deserve any better than this. We have neglected you lately and this is all we have a right to expect. It’s good enough for people like us.”

The middle son also refused. “This is really not so bad, Mom. If you’ve never tried it you don’t know what you’re missing. Would you like to join us?”

The third boy confirmed the decision to stay outside. “I’ve talked it over with my family and we don’t believe you really have anything any better inside. You can’t prepare a meal like you described. We think you are lying to us.”

The foolish, ungrateful  behavior of these children causes us to feel outraged. But we act in similar ways toward God when we refuse the banquet of blessings he has for us and accept, instead, the trash offered by the world.

God prepares a menu of blessings for us every day.  (Psalm 23). He knows we don’t deserve it but He continually offers us the best He has. Of course we don’t deserve his goodness, but He chooses to bless us anyway. To say He cannot bless us is to deny his power. To say He has not or will not bless us is to contradict his word. When we live in guilt, ignorance and denial we are as foolish as the three sons.

A Visit To The Grand Canyon

When we visit the Grand Canyon we approach it with some degree of reverence and look cautiously into it’s depths. We are impressed with the beauty, majesty, size and age.  We realize we are engaging only a small part of the canyon with only a small part of ourselves. After a short visit we walk away, get in our car and move on.

But that is not experiencing the Grand Canyon. We don’t go to the bottom and allow ourselves to be surrounded by it.  We don’t permit all our senses to become attuned to its sounds, colors, scent and sights. We don’t explore the side canyons and hidden pockets of splendor. We don’t sit still in the deepest recesses and view the animals and wild flowers. We don’t return throughout the year to view the seasonal changes.

If we really wanted to know the Canyon intimately we would read books about it and hire a guide for each visit. We would physically discipline ourselves to become strong enough to hike from one end to the other. We would stay there for days at a time.

But we don’t. And as a result of our look-over-the-edge-and-move-on visits we know it about like we know God.

We hurry into and out of God’s presence, perhaps impressed with a limited sense of his wisdom, majesty, beauty, size and power. We commit a small part of ourselves to peer cautiously into his Word, all the time knowing there is more. We stop short of a full sensory encounter then walk away content or even feel a little proud of our efforts.

We do not take the time and make the effort to experience God. We do not immerse ourselves and surround ourselves with Him. We refuse to explore the lesser-known facets of his personality.  We do not develop the stamina and self-discipline necessary to know his heart. Expecting immediate answers and solutions, we visit Him and then move on before some of his most beautiful, valuable truths can be received. We do not allow the Holy Spirit to be our guide. We may feel his presence for a few minutes but we don’t become intimate with him.  We approach God with a tourist mentality.

How can we correct this? We must make forming an intimate relationship with him the number-one priority of our lives. This will require a commitment of our time. Such relationships can not be rushed. We must establish regular times of prayer and Bible study, disciplining ourselves to concentrate of spiritual matters. The joys of experiencing God are available only to those who long for more than a quick, easy, occasional visit.

Using My Wealth

God has allowed each of us some amount of earthly wealth. As we decide what to do with it we divide ourselves in one of three categories.

HURTERS

These people use their wealth to hurt other people. Their attitude seems to be “It’s all mine. You can not have or use any of it. In fact, if I can figure out a way, I’ll get a part of yours for myself.” They see people as objects to be used for their own benefit.

HURRIERS

These people are too busy to find ways to use their money for anyone other than themselves. Their attitude is “Life is short. I don’t have time to be concerned about anything except money and what it can buy.” They don’t necessarily want more money, but they have to hurry in their efforts enjoy what they have. They simply do not see or understand the needs of others.

HELPERS

To these folks, wealth is a gift from God. It is intended to be used by his children to benefit others. “What is mine is really ours and I will share it with you when I see your need. How can I help?” They are continually looking for ways to use their wealth to further God’s kingdom.

God will never ask us “How much money do you have” but He will call us to give an account of “Where and how did you get it” and “What are you going to do with it.” We need to be sure He will be pleased with out answers.

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When I concentrate on being a friend of God, I am blessed. When I concentrate on being a friend for God, others get blessed, too.

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What does God look like?  Anything He wants to, anytime He wants to,  for as long as He wants to.

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Because we are future residents of heaven we can get overly-involved in all the details of the place. We talk about gates and lampstands and thrones and living creatures and harps and scrolls. We must remember that the glory of heaven is not in the place that is heaven but in the presence that is in heaven….the presence of Jesus Christ our Savior and Lord.