Second Thoughts

I am a sinner. Mostly, I have judged people on who they are and what they are. Instead, I should have had the heart of Jesus and loved my brothers and sisters, all of them, as Jesus loves me. I have to say though, as of late, my heart has changed. I had been reading my Bible and taking snippets from the Scriptures and using them out of context to justify my cynical behavior against  those who are simply DIFFERENT than I am.

After a long talk with a pastor friend of mine, he got me to realize that the people who are different than me were also God’s children and that He allowed them to be that way for a reason. I had forgotten God’s sovereignty and that everything that happens, happens at His hand.

Not very long ago, I read a story which explained the new rules of a certain church and how they were regulating who could advance in that church’s ministry and those who could not. This reading made me realize how my feelings must have been taken when I expressed them to others. My reply to that publication was this:”If Jesus was in your church during a bad storm and a small group of ‘different’ people came knocking at the doors for shelter, what do you think He would do?” For me, this is a huge turnaround in my thinking. Several months ago I would have completely agreed with the church’s policy. It has become crystal clear to me that the Holy Spirit has been working on my heart to accept people as they are, just as Jesus did. God has been working as “the potter”, molding me like clay to become more Christ-like in this part of my life.”You never know whose eyes God is watching you through” – Denver Moore.

President Ronald Reagan said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!”.  The removal of the wall brought East and West Berlin together, so as to be one whole city.  So must we tear down the walls which separate ourselves from each other so that we can be one whole race – the human race.  You see, we are all in this world together and the world, to us, is becoming smaller and smaller. In reality, this world is like a grain of sand in the hourglass of God’s expanse, and we are all just waiting to sift through that narrow path to the other side of the glass where everything as we know it will be different and we will all be equal.

Jesus said: “Come to me, ALL you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.“. (Matt 11:28) It has become clear to me, now, just how important that little word “ALL” really is. When our worlds are changed, we will all be equal in each other’s eyes just as we are now, in the sight of The Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Praise the Lord for His convictions upon us!

Thanksgiving

Lately, the following passage seems to be following me through nearly everything I do:

“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all. The Lord is near. Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” (Phil 4:4-7). I would like to say a few things about this word “Thanksgiving”. First, let’s break it apart. It’s a noun and means, obviously, the giving of thanks. But thanks for what and giving to whom?

In present day, this is the name of a holiday which has come to mean stuffing ourselves to the max, watching football and going out and trying to beat everyone else to the big bargains – pretty much the manifestation of gluttony, self and greed. This is the exact opposite of the meaning of the word itself. Thanksgiving is for giving, not self, greed or gluttony. What we are celebrating is our heritage as Americans.  When the Pilgrims were going through very bad times, they were thankful for what they did have.  When times finally became easier and food was more plentiful, they celebrated with a huge feast in honor of and to thank God for all He had given them.

We are to be giving thanks to the Lord for every single thing we have in our lives – good and bad. We need to be extra thankful for the good things in our lives and also thankful for being able to handle the bad things. (Rom 8:28)(Heb 13:20-21).

Friends, Thanksgiving is not a holiday that is celebrated ritualistically once a year. Thanksgiving is something that should be practiced and warmly felt in the heart and in the soul, fed by the spirit of God, and should be practiced every single day of the year.

Tears

Emotions. The good Lord gave them to all of us. But I know there are a lot of men, and some women, who won’t allow their tears to be seen in public. God knows I have cried enough of them. I can remember the very first time I cried in public. It was an Easter service and they played a hymn, the title of which I cannot remember. And I wept. My wife asked me what was wrong and I replied through my tears that I didn’t know, but I couldn’t stop. I will never forget the next thing I heard. I heard her mother say “Praise Jesus for He has exalted Himself to us today”.

Do you know what the shortest Bible verse is? It is John 11:35 – “Jesus wept“. Christ stood before a multitude and wept in sorrow for the death of His friend, Lazarus. He didn’t have to weep. He certainly knew He could bring Lazarus back, so why did He do this? I believe it was to show that there is nothing wrong with showing that a person has a tender heart. The greatest man who ever walked this earth was willing to show his emotion in public. We can too!