Look the Other Way…Or Stop and Pry Your Eyes Open

I saw something in church last Sunday that disturbed me. While the collection plate was passed one 80-year-old woman took the plate from the left, and passed to the right. But she was at the end of a short pew and to the right was another short pew. Sadly, a young man, 20ish, stayed in his pew and let the 80-year-old woman slowly get up and take the plate to him.

 

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To me, the saddest part about this is: he probably thought nothing of it. You might say he wasn’t brought up right, or you might think I am old-fashioned.

When did we get comfortable with wanting our own comfort above everyone else?

Possibly his attitude of the elderly is the same as the unwanted unborn…this attitude that permeates our country. Instead of others first, the ME focus seems to rule. Or maybe I’m wrong and he was just being a guy focused on something else completely.

 

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All of us have been slighted, cheated, ignored, or burned by others at one time or another. But what are we supposed to do? Be angry and say life is unfair?

But why did this happen in the church? This is where we teach others first. Church is where we learn to love and support each other, help the sick, the poor, and the elderly. This is where we learn Christ was the perfect example of love and we are supposed to be his example on earth.

 

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Even though we all know this is an impossible job, we do it joyfully, but it’s really hard isn’t it? Sometimes we can readily give grace to others, but then giving grace to our own selves is difficult. God knows this. He knows we mean well, and he knows our shortcomings.

He just wants a willing heart.

Yesterday, in a small town near us a young man and his father were shot while leaving a gym. The son who was shot multiple times and he died. The news reported it was road rage.

Road rage? One person has the right to take a life because he is angry?

How many lives are now affected by this man’s action? How did the shooter decide he is so important…more important than anyone else?

If we show the love of Christ to others, it will multiply. Love is returned, and love multiplies between fellow believers.

But how does that translate into the world of men? I’m talking about men and women who have never cracked open the Bible and heard its truths? We can’t just barge in to their unknown world and make a statement about God without knowing the heart.

We know because we live in a world with family and friends who think they do well without Christ. They think waiting until the end of life is time enough to talk to God. But we know that some lives are cut short, we see it every day.

So we give our best effort to know people, give them grace in their world and love them to Christ. This is what we are called to do, this hard thing, this simple thing we do in the strength of Someone else. God never asked us to do anything alone.

 

“Now that you have purified yourselves by obeying the truth so that you have sincere love for each other, love one another deeply, from the heart.”

1 Peter 1:22

“Dear friends, let us love one another, for love comes from God. Everyone who loves has been born of God and knows God.”

1 John 4:7

 

The Bird and Nature of a Dog

Yesterday was mild enough to let the dog on the deck to pace and watch whatever moved down on the ground, or in the trees. It is fall and squirrels run frantically across the yard with acorns. This always makes Wilber (the dog) run back and forth across the deck and bark.

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When a Junco hit the window and fell to the floor in front of him, Wilber was suddenly faced with a dilemma. The beagle in him instantly went for the bird, as I shrieked at him to stop. I watched as he gently picked up and held the bird in his mouth. Wilber did not tear into the bird, but instead brought it to me when I called.

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The poor Junco was dead and I don’t think it was the dog’s fault. It is his nature to go after birds. What I saw on his face was a concerned look. He was totally focused. The rescue was gentle; almost tender.

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Since my inspiring time at Harvester Island, I have folded away into a cocoon. I was terribly and happily overcome by inspiration with others who sought knowledge the same as me. And then of course, we came home.

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So now what?

I’m not sleeping, and when I do my dreams haunt me with recognition of real life. Writer’s block you may say, but I’d rather not. I have never liked that term, so I call it my season of quiet. It seems that God is also quiet. It is also his prerogative.  He can keep me here for as long as he wishes, and say nothing.

I know that I must write through this, so I have, but to just share words is not my intention. I must share hope.

One thing I know about quiet—it will happen again, just as it has happened before. The quiet may be long or short; that part doesn’t matter. What matters is if I let myself fall into despair. The only option is choosing to be thankful.

The quiet will come and go, and I will survive. This I know because God is a gentle teacher. He is always concerned, and he is continually on the watch.

It is His true nature.

You and I could despair in these times, (and I have had my days). We wait impatiently while we can’t move forward. When it’s over, we look back and see that some small growth has happened that we weren’t expecting. Maybe it’s nothing big, nothing life changing, just a bit of new hope.

And new hope builds on what we already know.

Poor Wilber can’t change his nature. He will continue to watch the birds intently and quiver, even as I will continue to feed the birds.

The unchangeable God has our lives in the palm of his hand. When our hope is dying we have missed the mark, and our focus is off him and on what we feel.

How hard is it when we try on our own? We’re defeated before we even try.

 

 

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, that the excellence of the power may be of God and not of us. We are hard-pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not forsaken; struck down, but not destroyed– always carrying about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body. For we who live are always delivered to death for Jesus’ sake, that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our mortal flesh. So then death is working in us, but life in you. And since we have the same spirit of faith, according to what is written, “I believed and therefore I spoke,” we also believe and therefore speak, knowing that He who raised up the Lord Jesus will also raise us up with Jesus, and will present us with you. For all things are for your sakes, that grace, having spread through the many, may cause thanksgiving to abound to the glory of God.”

2 Corinthians 4:7-15 NKJV

 

 It is His nature to love, to give grace, and to be the Unchangeable One.