Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Keep Smiling!

This past week I spent time with someone who never smiled when I was watching. How I reacted inside to her kept changing colors each day. At first I felt intimidated because she appeared as if she had it all together. You know the kind of person I am talking about. They take charge of every situation and appoint themselves in command whether a majority vote has been taken on her behalf. Her self appointed attitude permeated giving the air of "I don't really need you."

The first time I met her I struggled just for a moment with feelings of inferiority. She did have a lot together and knew much more about the activities we were doing. I decided to chase away my complex and offered my gifts and talents given to me by the Lord. Each of us are different you know. Not everyone can have it together or even look like it! I actually enjoyed myself as I found my little niche. There is joy in serving Jesus, so I thought.

But this non-smiling woman kept haunting me every day I was with her. She really did not look like she was having a good time. The rest of us were really having fun doing each of our tasks with enthusiasm because we enjoyed being together. I realized the 'party' was going on without her. Each attempt to include her was brushed aside.

By the end of the week, she did not even make eye contact with me. Maybe there is more to this than I understand. The one who appears as if all is well can be choosing to hide behind that mask because of its safety. She wrapped herself in a cocoon of busyness maybe really wanting to join in.

Maybe the truth is that deep down inside there may be things that are too painful to describe. I think I will keep smiling anyway and find a way to bridge this communication gap. Maybe someday it will happen. Until then, I'll keep smiling!

Guard Your Heart

It's days like today that I understand why God put Gal 6:9 in his love letter to us. Satan wants to wear us down as believers so we are not effective in our ministries.

Gal 6:8 talks about those who sow to please their own sinful nature. What wears on me the most is when these kinds of people prey on our weak brothers and sisters, especially children and teenagers.

Satan desires to make us ineffective by lulling us to sleep on major issues, especially what we allow and invite to influence our lives....books we read, movies we watch, friends and people of influence in our lives. Nothing is innocuous! We live in a daily battle and somedays we choose not to recognize it because it is easier not to. Trust me, I would love a break from the constant beating down that we receive around us. It is easier to join the crowd rather than walk away, but each time we stay, we become more entrenched in the world's philosophies. God encouraged us to follow Him, which would be a 'lesser travelled road.' '

Beware, friends because the prince of this world desires to numb us to things around us. Stay connected to your power source and "don't grow weary in well-doing!"

Be on your guard, brothers and sisters- remember we are in a battle and it is everyday until Jesus comes for his Bride!

God Loves Those With a Broken Heart

Psalm 34:18 (NIV) The LORD is close to the broken-hearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

God loves the broken hearted! How that thought washes over my soul like a refreshing rain to a parched land. I can say that in my times of being totally broken, God has touched me in such unique ways that I cannot help but share with those who struggle along side of me.

I never realized how much my deep ache could be comforted until I have offered a hug of complete understanding to those who struggle with the same heartache. That is when I breathe, 'Thank you, Lord"; I can see some of your purpose in this pain.

The church as a whole and in our local bodies are filled with broken people. No matter how perfectly we dress or how beautifully we sing, what counts is how we love. I wonder if too many times we enter our place of worship with pride of how well we are doing our Christian checklist: perfect children perfectly dressed and well behaved, tithe check ready, Sunday School lesson prepared, the smile on our face that conveys all is well.

Think about who Jesus picked to be his disciples. They were not perfect on the outside or the inside. They were smelly, cantankerous fisherman. Imagine them showing up on Sunday morning at your church!

Would we dare be honest with our brothers and sisters in Christ if we are struggling? Do others know us to be real in our faith as we are free to share our struggles, our shortcomings? Hopefully that is true of me, of you, of our churches.

"Thank you Lord, for helping me see that my suffering is worthwhile as I see it making me a better, not bitter person so that I may comfort others."