Specks n Logs

Matthew 7:1-3 NLT — “Do not judge others, and you will not be judged. For you will be treated as you treat others. The standard you use in judging is the standard by which you will be judged. “And why worry about a speck in your friend’s eye when you have a log in your own?


Where human eyes see greed in another, maybe Father God sees the precursors hopelessness and desperation that led to the greed we now judge. 
Where were we in the hopelessness? Where were we in the desperation? Did we take the time to notice to hear the cry for help? Were we too busy with our own troubles? Maybe so, yet now we justify standing in judgment of the greed we couldn’t be bothered to help prevent? 
Where is our justification?


We too walked in greed, as we concentrated on ourselves so much we couldn’t stop to notice, we could have set aside our worries, to care for someone on the brink of destruction. 
And now, we think we can justify our right to abandon them, now that greed has taken root in them and we shouldn’t have to be bothered by it? Which side of the fence do we truly stand on in such a situation? Selfishness or selflessness? 


Though we can surely make a defensive argument make sense to ourselves and others, we know the truth as it can be felt in our gut. We don’t want to be the person pictured here so we battle even the idea of it, as that’s not who we are. 
Perhaps it’s truly not who we are, yet avoiding the truth of the situation, to justify our behavior, turns one selfish act (the spec) into a self-righteous attitude (the log) that’s near impossible to escape once it takes root. 
What may have started as a “speck” in our eye, then becomes a “log” and now, we have become that person depicted because we refused to take responsibility for a mistake moment.


Romans 12:9-16 NLT — Don’t just pretend to love others. Really love them. Hate what is wrong. Hold tightly to what is good. Love each other with genuine affection, and take delight in honoring each other. Never be lazy, but work hard and serve the Lord enthusiastically. Rejoice in our confident hope. Be patient in trouble, and keep on praying. When God’s people are in need, be ready to help them. Always be eager to practice hospitality. Bless those who persecute you. Don’t curse them; pray that God will bless them. Be happy with those who are happy, and weep with those who weep. Live in harmony with each other. Don’t be too proud to enjoy the company of ordinary people. And don’t think you know it all!


Only God knows the truth within each human life. We can be so blind by our own troubles, that we never see the pain and suffering others around us might be struggling to survive. We don’t know what hides under the attitudes and actions of those around us. 
God knows what hides beneath the surface. When His word tells us how to treat people, He didn’t give us these instructions meant to work for only those who lived in the bible times, no His Word is timeless as He is timeless. He knew then, just as He knows now, what hurting, misunderstood, barely surviving people would need from those of us willing to be obedient to Him and with a joyful heart serve others. 


I have heard it said that in heaven the highest, most honorable, second in greatness only to Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, position is… servant. I repeat, in heaven they say the greatest position is servant. Everyone serves everyone.. No more being bogged down with the weight of selfishness, self pity and self righteousness.


It can feel like it takes a lot of faith to believe God will fight our battles, while we follow His instructions, and love on the very people we are battling, especially the people that seem to drive us  crazy. Oh but the reward that comes, once we allow Holy Spirit to love them through us!! We start to see the echo of Christ’s behavior within ourselves. Character of heaven shaping and molding us from the inside out.. 
As we grow in character through the utilization of God’s word and the fruit of His Spirit, we can start to see others as He sees them. What once we saw as someone just being greedy, can be seen with new compassionate eyes toward the painful struggle they’ve endured, causing the symptom of greed to manifest.  


Leaving judgement up to God we can then love them in their process of divine shaping and molding. 


Until next time, may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.  


My favorite things

For the last few years I believe Father God spoke to my spirit on various occasions about giving away something of mine to bless others. If I was to admit a small complaint, it would be that each time He asked me to give something away, it just happened to be one of my favorite things.

One such time I procrastinated for two weeks before I finally gave in and did what Father God was asking. My only copy of my favorite devotional was the item in question. That devotional meant so much to me because it got me through an extremely hard time in my life. I often told people that I highly recommend it as it saved my life. It took two weeks to open up and allow the Holy Spirit to convince me it truly was God requesting I give that devotional away.

The day I decided to finally be obedient, no sooner did I pull into the driveway, when the person to whom I was to give the book to, walked right by my car. I called out to her. As she approached my window I handed her the book and told her “ God wanted me to give this to you.” She looked at it and with a lit up face she smiled and said to me, “oh grandma just gave me this same book a few days ago.”

 As she handed the book back through my window, I knew in my spirit, grandma got my blessing. God first gave the job to me and not once did he push me or threaten me about it. No as a matter of fact he allowed me all the time I needed to settle my emotional ties to this worldly object. He was patient, understanding and gentle with me, but because the job needed done in the right timing, His timing, He asked Grandma whom happened to be mom to me, Mom then went obediently right out to do the job. As I sit in my car thinking about this, I couldn’t help but smile and tell the Lord okay I get it, I see what’s happened, I missed an opportunity to be blessed because of my emotional attachment to that book. I also chuckled with the realization that Father God worked it out so that I would see clearly that blessing was given to my mom because she acted immediately.

He was showing me that to be effective for Him it’s crucial to listen and act as quickly as I can as some jobs are time sensitive. He wouldn’t push me into obedience and He will always give me the space I need to heal or let go but at the same time the job needed done so He made sure it was. He didn’t rub it in my face, He didn’t tell me I failed, He never condemned me. He didn’t even seem slightly disappointed in me. Instead he got overjoyed along with me once the concept truly set in and I finally understood. Less than a week later someone else needed my book and that time I didn’t hesitate. That book led me closer to Father God, Lord Jesus and the Holy Spirit. During major hardship in my life I knew that book help me get to know God on a whole different level than ever before. I never thought God would want me to part with it. Oh sentimental soul that I am. The prize is the new level of relationship I gained with Father God not the book the book was just the tool God used to draw me into this new level. I unwittingly placed the value on the wrong thing.

The true value was never the book itself, but it was found in what the book brought into my life. A close, intimate, relationship with Father, Son and Holy Ghost!

The Lord is showing me how easily I can find reasons to become attached to things of this world. How  occasionally  I convince myself that my attachment is justifiable. Because of this He had been asking for my favorite things to be given to someone else.

I find the more I act in obedience giving away my favorite possessions, the easier it gets. I won’t pretend not to hesitate, or whine, or pull a Jonah kinda move hoping to avoid it all together, because I do.. I’m still a work in progress after all.

Matthew 6:19-21 NLT — “Don’t store up treasures here on earth, where moths eat them and rust destroys them, and where thieves break in and steal. Store your treasures in heaven, where moths and rust cannot destroy, and thieves do not break in and steal. Wherever your treasure is, there the desires of your heart will also be.

One of the things I have learned through all of this is, those things I have in this world that I try so hard to hold onto, once I’ve let them go, truly let them go joyfully and willingly, the weight that came off of me had been so heavy, I had no idea I carried such weight until it was lifted off me. I never noticed it until I was free of it.

This world has many treasures. It was after all designed by The Master Designer, whom  thought it, spoke it, and it was.. All for His good pleasure and as a blessing unto us. Sometimes we need a reminder that all things here are on loan, we cannot take them with us.

The enemy will help us find any and all possible reason to hold onto treasure here in order to stop us from longing for home. If he can cause us to become emotionally bound to our relationships and worldly possessions, it’s less likely for us to yearn for heaven when our hearts, everything we love, is here.

The enemy tricks us with treasures equivalent to less than a penny in comparison to the home Jesus has prepared for us once we are called home. Life doesn’t end here. This life isn’t even the dress rehearsal of eternity. It’s more like roll choosing.

1 Corinthians 3:12-15 NLT — Anyone who builds on that foundation may use a variety of materials—gold, silver, jewels, wood, hay, or straw. But on the judgment day, fire will reveal what kind of work each builder has done. The fire will show if a person’s work has any value. If the work survives, that builder will receive a reward. But if the work is burned up, the builder will suffer great loss. The builder will be saved, but like someone barely escaping through a wall of flames.

This life and what we do with it will determine our place in heavens society. This less than a millisecond of time is our schooling for life in the kingdom of Almighty God!

What we do with what Father God  gives us whether in abundance or small portion, including the time we are allotted here on Earth, determines what we will be in eternity.  

Friends, God does all the work for us and gives us the opportunity to be heroes for His glory. All we need to do is let go of this world and with all our heart seek Him, love Him and worship Him.

Until next time, may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.

 

 

Puzzle pieces

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about puzzles. More specifically a 40,000 piece puzzle that is the Guinness book of world records largest puzzle in the world. This puzzle is the largest in both the amount of pieces and it’s overall size. The part of this puzzle that has me thinking though, is the number of pieces. 40,000 pieces needing to find their place in the big picture.

With that many pieces one might entertain the thought that one or two pieces aren’t such a big deal if they happened to go missing.. keeping track of 40,000 pieces sounds almost overtime payish.

One piece of a puzzle won’t even give someone an idea of what the picture will be once all the pieces are put together.  Having just one piece of the whole puzzle is useless really as it cannot be the whole puzzle even if it wanted to be.  That piece has its one place within the whole, where it is vital to the whole.  If that one piece decided to go it’s own way getting lost, thinking it’s no big deal or unimportant, would ruin the masterpiece for without it the whole would be void in the spot that piece was to take up. Furthermore that piece is not replaceable either. No other piece can or will fit into it’s rightful place.

As I ponder this I am drawn to the idea, what if life was like this. What if God has this masterpiece in mind as He creates each and every piece to fit together, each having it’s own unique shape and each being equally important to the finished project. He’s skillfully and masterfully knit every single human together while in the womb, giving to each a uniqueness that only they can contribute and nobody can take the place of.

We are all just pieces to the whole puzzle. We are meant to fit together, each in our own unique way.

This is not really a new thought, in scripture Paul puts it this way,

1 Corinthians 12:14-27 NLT — Yes, the body has many different parts, not just one part. If the foot says, “I am not a part of the body because I am not a hand,” that does not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear says, “I am not part of the body because I am not an eye,” would that make it any less a part of the body? If the whole body were an eye, how would you hear? Or if your whole body were an ear, how would you smell anything? But our bodies have many parts, and God has put each part just where he wants it. How strange a body would be if it had only one part! Yes, there are many parts, but only one body. The eye can never say to the hand, “I don’t need you.” The head can’t say to the feet, “I don’t need you.” In fact, some parts of the body that seem weakest and least important are actually the most necessary. And the parts we regard as less honorable are those we clothe with the greatest care. So we carefully protect those parts that should not be seen, while the more honorable parts do not require this special care. So God has put the body together such that extra honor and care are given to those parts that have less dignity. This makes for harmony among the members, so that all the members care for each other. If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it, and if one part is honored, all the parts are glad. All of you together are Christ’s body, and each of you is a part of it.

Selfishness, self-pity, self-righteousness, all focus on self.  So long as the focus is on self, it cannot also be on service.

The world has made popular the idea that we should be focused on self, like self improvement, self-confidence, self-help, self-esteem, self-acceptance, self-love, etc. All examples of the worldly idea that we need to focus on ourselves.

All around us are the messages, feeding into our minds and hearts, causing us to believe this concentration on self is right.   We are all searching for inner peace, love, and a place to just rest. When focus is on self, no matter what side of the scale, from self-pity to self-righteousness, we are in a constant state of restlessness, anxiety, always standing ready to defend.  We build up walls inside ourselves as part of our defense readiness, having no idea, the walls, once built, won’t allow the bad in, but won’t allow the good in either.   We starve ourselves of the very thing we are seeking, all because we have given into the feel-good, worldly, idea that we should concentrate on ourselves.

The problem is, we were not created for this.   Self, is lonely, isolating, non-community, it’s all take and little to no give.  We were created in the image of  All Mighty God, to be parts of a whole, to fit like puzzle pieces together.  

The enemy doesn’t want us to know we are but one simple piece.  He wants to destroy the puzzle, of course he will most deceptively, by the use of our emotions and lack of true wisdom, give us every reason to continue believing we, individually, are the whole.

We seem to all try to fit ourselves into spots that make us like those we admire or like those we respect. We work hard to prove ourselves worthy of the spots we desire to fit into. The truth is only one might actually fit in that spot. The rest are faking, camouflaged, mimicking, etc.

We all go through this life trying to find our place, a place with people like us, where we feel like we fit in. We look for like-mindedness, hobbies in common, similar interests and ways of living.

We then pass judgement in one form or another upon those who are not living up to our standards. Some may try to use religion or Christian principles as justification for being able to point out wrong doing in others.

We try to hide our true selves just in case we won’t be accepted.

The truth is instead of searching for what makes us the same as, or at least makes us resemble others, we should search for what makes us unique, different, special. We should be looking for our place in the big picture. At the same time we should be encouraging others to find their uniqueness also.

Instead of shunning people that may be different we should be accepting, learning, encouraging, celebrating what makes us individuals.

If we are to mimic Jesus, we need to learn how to serve and accept others regardless of what society and the world try to tell us.

We are all just one piece to the whole puzzle. All equal in significance, all having our own special, uniqueness to contribute to the whole.

Find your unique, be it, own it, show it off because you are special, important, fearfully and wonderfully made, most of all, you are dearly loved by your Creator!

Until next time may God bless you and keep you as you seek Him with your whole heart.