Be Thou Our Vision

Have you seen or heard this quote?

The way people treat you is a statement about who they are as a human being.  It’s not a statement about you.

I saw this about a week ago and it didn’t sit right with me.

Have you ever been mean to someone or snapped at someone?  I know I have done this.  I have done it to strangers on the street as well as the ones I love the most.  I know this isn’t right, and I am not condoning my actions but I am questioning whether these actions should stamp me as a mean or angry human being?

These moments of anger thrown at another are usually tied back to something else that is bothering me, something that is making me unhappy, uncomfortable.  These moments usually mean I have had a rough moment, day, week or month.  When I do this it means I have a lot of other things to work on personally, but I don’t think these moments should label me or anyone else as a certain type human being.

On the flip side, have you ever woken up so joyful and full of thanksgiving and gratitude that you smiled and showed extra kindness to everyone you met that day?  I have had days like this too, and these are great days, but do these actions label me as a wonderful and kind human being?  How could they when I have also had days full of anger and impatience with everyone?

I think these actions, regardless of which side, should label me as a human being having a certain type of moment, not as a certain type of human being.

I think changing a few words in this quote would promote a lot more empathy and compassion.

The way people treat you is a statement about what they are going through.  It’s not a statement about you.

Jesus please help us to remember that it is rarely about us and please help us to see others through Your eyes… Be Thou Our Vision!

Thank You

Almost every time I pray I ask for my family and friends to be blessed and kept safe, but what does keeping them safe really entail?  What does blessing them really entail?

Do I mean for them to be healthy and kept out of accidents?
Do I mean for them to be comfortable and happy?

Will keeping them safe and blessing them bring them closer to God?  I don’t know.

In Jeremiah 14:11-12
The Lord said to me: Do not pray for the welfare of this people.  Although they fast, I do not hear their cry, and although they offer burnt offering and grain offering, I do not accept them; but by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence I consume them.

Was the Lord asking Jeremiah to refrain from praying for the welfare of these people because He knew that safety, comfort and blessings are not what would bring these people closer to Him?  Is He saying that that they will only cry out to Him, present offerings from their hearts, and truly come closer to Him in times of war, famine and pestilence?

I am not sure, but reading this made me take a step back and wonder.

1.  How often do I cry out to God in true joy and thanksgiving when I am safe, comfortable and blessed?  Do these blessings help bring me closer to Him?

2.  How often do I cry out to God in times of sorrow or conflict?  Do these difficulties and challenges bring me closer to Him?

God wants us to cry out to Him regardless of whether it is in joy or misery.   He wants to be there for us, He wants to be close to us and maybe sometimes we won’t let Him in until the difficult times arise.

God please help us to pray with humility knowing that we don’t know what is best, and help us to have faith that You do know what is best for all of us and will do everything in Your power to help us cry out to You.

Maybe my new prayer should be, Thank You, Thank You, Thank You!

In great numbers…

Jeremiah 5:22
I placed the sand as a boundary for the sea, a perpetual barrier that it cannot pass; though the waves toss, they cannot prevail, though they roar, they cannot pass over it.

Isn’t it interesting that we are always trying to build something big and something strong to control the waters of the sea?

When God chose a barrier to contain it He chose one of the smallest things on earth, sand.  A single grain of sand may be small, but in great numbers it prevails over the majestic, powerful and consistent force of the sea.

In great numbers anything is possible!

Join me in saying “It is Our Best Life”!  In great numbers Our Best Life is realized for everyone!

Let the floor fall…

There is something in my life that is really bugging me and it is not getting done.  I am trying to remain calm about it, but I am thinking about it a lot.

I have become very good at telling my family and friends to give their problems and concerns to God, He will handle them and take care of everything and in the end it will work our for the best.  Now is my small test and I can feel myself failing miserably the more I think about it, the more I worry, wonder, ponder about what to do and how to handle it.

I am so sorry for my lack of faith despite the myriad of times in my life when You have clearly taken all of my problems, concerns, issues into Your hands and woven something more beautiful than I could have imagined.

Jesus please help us to remember to let the floor fall right out from under us with full faith and trust that You will catch us!

It is Our Best Life!

Expand, expand, expand…

Circles are everywhere.  Our lives are filled with both figurative and physical circles.  We see them in nature, we see them in actions and re-actions and we experience them physically around tables, in meetings, and during circle time as children.

We include people when we are willing to expand our circles, but we can just as easily exclude others by refusing to expand our circle for new arrivals.

My sister wrote a blog that I loved last year, Is it a pie or a triangle?.  The conversation we had regarding this blog stands out clearly in my mind as a moment in my life when I finally started to scratch the surface in my personal understanding of Jesus and what He did for me.

Ever since this conversation, I have thought of God as a large circle that we are all held within.  I then picture all of us as small circles within the God’s large circle.  Some of our circles are bigger and some of our circles are smaller and some of them overlap.  The bigger ones represent those who have accepted or included more people, and the smaller ones have accepted or included fewer people.

I don’t think heaven or paradise is possible without everyone and unfortunately we are the ones imposing limitations and building walls within God’s beautiful, all-inclusive circle by excluding others.

Pray for everyone, try to empathize with everyone…
Empathy will lead to forgiveness, and forgiveness will lead to love.

OUR best life doesn’t work unless everyone is included!

I pray and dream for OUR best life for everyone, everyday!  I hope you do too… together we can expand our circles!

The first shall be last…

I have been thinking a lot about the following passage from the bible.

Mark 12:1-12
Jesus then began to speak to them in parables: “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, dug a pit for the winepress and built a watchtower. Then he rented the vineyard to some farmers and moved to another place. At harvest time he sent a servant to the tenants to collect from them some of the fruit of the vineyard. But they seized him, beat him and sent him away empty-handed. Then he sent another servant to them; they struck this man on the head and treated him shamefully. He sent still another, and that one they killed. He sent many others; some of them they beat, others they killed.

“He had one left to send, a son, whom he loved. He sent him last of all, saying, ‘They will respect my son.’

“But the tenants said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Come, let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ So they took him and killed him, and threw him out of the vineyard.

“What then will the owner of the vineyard do? He will come and kill those tenants and give the vineyard to others. 10 Haven’t you read this passage of Scripture:

“‘The stone the builders rejected
    has become the cornerstone;
11 the Lord has done this,
    and it is marvelous in our eyes’?”

12 Then the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders looked for a way to arrest him because they knew he had spoken the parable against them. But they were afraid of the crowd; so they left him and went away.

The first time I read this parable I didn’t get it, I skimmed over it and read on, but I just reread it yesterday and I finally understood it.

As many others have written and as I finally understood, in this parable Jesus is referencing God as the landowner, the Jewish leaders as the tenants, the prophets as the servants and then Himself, Jesus, as the landowners only son.

As I was thinking more about this today, I thought about all of the other spiritual beliefs and religions spread throughout the world.  I thought about how the core teaching of all of the major religions is the same as Jesus’ core teaching, The Golden Rule.

Do unto others as you would have done unto you.

Then I began to think about all of the other religions whose leaders could have also been considered tenants.  I thought about how these other religions have also had prophets come to share this message, The Golden Rule, and I started wondering what was the difference.

Did the leaders of these other religions, the tenants, actually listen to their prophets, the servants of the landowner, thus not requiring the landowner to send his only son?

If this is the case, then we have been quite lost for some time.  If this is the case, then we, the Christian children of our Jewish ancestors, appear to be among the last to follow God’s law and the one’s who required and took the most from God in order to listen and believe.  We wouldn’t take the word of His prophets/His servants, but required Him to sacrifice His only Son for us to finally listen and believe.

Thank you God for sacrificing Your only Son, Jesus, in order to bring us, Your chosen people, home.  Please help us to understand that You chose us not as a preference over our brothers and sisters throughout the world, but because You love us and refuse to abandon Your lost sheep even if it means sacrificing Your only Son.

Please help us to open our eyes and see that we may have been the lost sheep all along.

Please help us to open our eyes as we look on our brothers and sisters throughout this world and help us to see that there are so many who knew Your Son before you sent Him and so many who have loved You, lived by Your words, and attributed any goodness found within them back to You longer than we have.

Please help us to see that we might be among the last.

Dream a little dream with me…

Today I have been thinking about our sweet Jesus and all of the pain and suffering He will go through for me, for you, for all of us.  I am so sad.

I keep thinking of Simon the Cyrene helping Him to carry His cross and Veronica leaning in to wipe His face.  I want others to be there for Him, for our sweet Jesus, during His pain, during His agony.  I have so many friends who love Him so much.

I want to a dream a little dream today.  I want to dream that my sweet friends are there with Jesus.  I want to imagine all of you quietly standing up and taking up His cross so that Simon’s hands are free to carry our Lord.  I want to imagine you sprinkled through the crowd and quietly leaning in as He passes to wipe His face, kiss His wounds, and gently care for Him.

We cannot change what happened, it had to happen, the scriptures had to be fulfilled.   Maybe we can dream a little dream to ease His pain, ease His suffering, and send Him our timeless love.

Thank you my friends for helping me to find our sweet Jesus.  Please love Him today, please care for Him today, and I pray with all of my heart that you have the honor of being with Him today in our dreams.

 

Hold your head high!

When I was young I played tennis and I had a coach who once told me to be confident.  He said to hold my head high and walk a little slower when changing sides between games.  I always remembered this and since that conversation I have tried to do hold my head high, walk slow and have confidence in myself.

As I was running today I was thinking about how nice it is to hold your head high.  It gives you such a different perspective and view as you walk or run through life.

When you look down most of the time you see more of the man-made things, shoes, pants, streets, side walks, cars, tires.  When you hold your head high you can see more of what God has made, the eyes of others, flowers, birds, trees and even the sky in your peripheral vision.

I want to keep holding my head high, but I am going to try to change the reasoning behind it.  I don’t want to hold my head high anymore in confidence, pride, or superiority.

I want to hold my head high so that I can keep God in sight!

Jesus, thank you for the beautiful and natural things that fill our world and surround even our man-made things with your beauty.  Please help us to always keep You in our sight!

 

Lead from behind, but don’t forget to follow from in front!

I was running today and as I was running I was thinking about St. Patrick’s prayer

Christ be with me
Christ be before me 
Christ be behind me
Christ be within me

As I was thinking this, I thought about the miniature Jesus I used to imagine living in my heart when I was little and laughed at myself.   Then I imagined Jesus running in front of me and running behind me and thought to myself, what a beautiful circle that makes and isn’t it amazing that when Jesus is running behind me He wants me to follow Him!

I hear the saying and use the saying,  Lead from behind, a lot, but I don’t think I have ever heard someone say, Follow from in front.

I don’t think following from in front is easy, but I think it is extremely important.

Take a look at Jesus’ Warriors of Love, women in abusive relationships.  They are not considered leaders according to our man-made criteria, but we should see them as leaders in how to love others recklessly, how to love others as Jesus and God love us despite our flaws and terrible actions and treatment of others and ourselves.

Take a look at the slaves world wide.  They are not considered leaders, but we should see them as leaders in resilience, strength and the faith as they go on living one more day with every dawn.

Take a look at the people of any third world country.  They are not considered leaders, but we should see them as leaders.  They lead us daily in gratitude as they give praise for clean water to drink, a simple meal placed before them and whatever shelter God has provided for them.

Finally, take a look at the sweet and generous widow in the bible.  She was not considered a leader at that time.  She was seen as a quiet and small follower, barely noticed by the powerful leaders at that time, but Jesus saw her, talked about her, placed her in a position to lead from behind, reminding us yet again to Follow from in Front.

Mark 12:44
They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything — all she had to live on.

I think when the leaders and followers get mixed up as a lot of us are now, leaders, leading from in front and followers, following from behind, we very easily get lost and it becomes very hard to find God.

Let’s get out of the desert, let’s end this aimless wandering, let’s begin following the real leaders of our world.  The poor, the oppressed, and the children.  They have big things to teach us if we are willing to listen!

So many of us have been trying to lead from in front.  Jesus please help us to have faith and trust in You and our fellow brothers and sisters so that we can complete your circle and remember to follow from in front.

St. Patrick!

I didn’t know anything about St. Patrick before reading an article about him today.  I am sure there is still a lot more to know about him, but what I read, I loved and I wanted to share it with you.

Our Heroes: St. Patrick of Ireland by Edward Hoyt

Towards the end of the article Mr. Hoyt says that he has been sitting in the first person for far too long when saying St. Patrick’s prayer.  This was yet another reminder of how I was saying “It is MY best life” for far too long.

This is the version of St. Patrick’s prayer that I want to say.  I hope you will join me!

Christ be in our hearts every time we think of anyone
Christ be in our mouths every time we speak to anyone
Christ be in our eyes every time see anyone
Christ be in our ears every time we hear anyone