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Archive for the ‘Church unity’ Category

Contempt is a strong word, but what attracts us to some becomes second place once we see the flaws that inevitably come. When I was younger I looked up to a lot of people, some were Christians some weren’t. I would see something that just left me in awe sometimes. It could be the strength that they had in handling a situation, it might have been their humor, their knowledge and wisdom, a variety of things that would draw me to people. I would hold them to a certain standard above everyone else. These people had a special quality about them that was admired not just by me, but surely others saw that these were not mere mortals, instead they had a conditioning, a certain discipline that others did not have. Envy probably played a little bit in it also. A comparison to others is another. I would try to make people into who I wanted them to be.

My Grandparents on my fathers side, never disappointed me. I always looked up to them. To me they were the blueprint for what older people should be. I realized that I formed contempt for myself the more I got to know me, the less I liked me. In my past I hung around people that were less then common, my friends had tattoos, as do I. Some we gave each other and some were done at parlors. We were miscreants, and I know there were a lot of people that were afraid to approach us. But I knew these people, we talked about several different things, and eventually God would come up in the conversations. I knew some that wanted to try and go to Church but knew how they would be viewed.

I took one girl to church that was really excited to go. We were both looked at, but not approached, and this was the congragation that I was raised in. They would approach me when I was by myself, but not when I was with a ‘lower class’ well, the communion was being passed and when the ‘bread’ (crackers) were passed she took a whole block. I forgot to tell her about communion, so she really did not know what to do. She was embarrased and I just held on to it since the plate had already passed. Audible gasp were heard, and the ones passing the plate gave me looks that really should not be allowed in church. I guess sometimes you don’t even have to know someone before they bother you. It’s funny isn’t it?

We are intrigued by how someone looks so we notice their attributes, or what we see as such, and if they look decent enough or they are the right social class, then we even defend their wrongs. If the person is a little off in looks, and are in a lower social class, it is easier to see the wrongs and we seem to have to search for the strengths. When someone is disabled they become projects to be seen by others how we pat them on the back, watch what we say around them, and get accolades for how we treat them.

My mother had a friend that was blind, she was one of the funniest people I have ever known, when I would drive her and mom around mom’s friend would tell me when a car was coming, and then she would tell me the color and size. She had been blind since birth and really did not know colors, but sometimes she got it right but mostly she did not. But she would make me laugh. She would sometimes wear sunglasses when we would go out, so people would not look at her eyes, and to be honest if she wasn’t moms friend I probably never would have got to know her. She wouldn’t have been someone that I would approach. We are all God’s, at one time we all had a fire in us to know Him. It is when we get older that the fire can be squelched.

Don’t turn from those that you have become disenchanted with, remember they have probably figured out that you are flawed also. Also, we all need God, talk to that wall flower, that person that no one else wants anything to do with. You might just find that you gain a friend for a lifetime and if you are not careful they might teach you something.

D.

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Luke 15:11-32  – In the story of the prodigal son we are shown that not only do we walk away from the Father when we fall away but we walk away from our family also. It seems human nature to want our rewards while we are here on earth, our Father is a giving Father it is easy for us to take the good things and walk away under the pretense that we can make it on our own. How heavy are the burdens when we separate ourselves from Him.

The reason I believe that it is human nature, is that God gives us a longing of what is to come. We can feel His love and He has given us a sense of self. Without Him these feelings are foreign to us, giving us a false sense of self. There is a reason that we have Brothers and Sisters in Christ, it is a support base, keeping us focused, and on track.

When we have trials we are burdened but how great is it to feel that love of your Father and family. When we go through difficult times without a loving Father, and without a loving family trying to wrestle with issues on our own, we find ourselves lost and ultimately alone.  I know the feeling of the prodigal son, but I can also relate to the feelings of the faithful one. I have had jealousy over others that have returned and received a welcome home. Where were they during the work that was done? Maybe they are still lost, keep an eye on this one. I thought these things as I smiled and shook their hands calling them my Brother or Sister. Knowing deep inside that this is needed, they were out of the fold and now they are back.

At times it was because I was raised ‘knowing’ the word, knowing my Father and I have heard of this Brother, but I also knew him for what he was. (I will use Brother here, but it could easily be a Sister.) The thing is, this brother knew me for what I was also. So, how dare he come in, and he knows the word in a way that I have not seen it before. I fool myself at times that my study is the last word on God’s will. A dangerous area that we all reach sometimes, if you have never experienced that then God has blessed you in that area.

The brother of the prodigal son shows us then that there is a parallel feeling within the siblings, self. Though the brother committed to his fathers will, he never strayed. Feeling that he was overlooked, he remained working for his father and then here comes his brother that has been out in the real world, taking his rewards and throwing them away. It seemed that the prodigal son became the fathers favorite. This wasn’t true, the father told his other son that his rewards were still there, the prodigal has come back, he is now found, he can now share in the gifts that his father offered.

I feel sometimes as an only child, within a loving family. I feel that I stray and am out of the fold. But I have a loving Father and a loving family that open their arms to welcome me back. To lift me up so that I might have strength to continue in His love, to lay down self and lift up others. The strength of one person is restricted to their conditioning, the knowledge of a family is limited to their wisdom, the strength, the wisdom, the guidance of the Teacher, a Father, a King, a Lord of lords, a Leader is infinite. Less of self and more of Him who in all things are possible.

D.

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Update

I have updated my graphics page, I included some of the slides that were in the presentation for one of our Sunday night services. It was a wonderful service to hear others singing praises, and some faces you just had to focus on because of the praise that was so evident in their expressions. I was thankful to be asked to be a part of it, and very humbled in seeing that my pictures were not needed in this service. The singing was beautiful, the scripture readings and the prayer readings all contributed to a glorious praise to our Father.

This service was two Sundays ago, so I am late in my writing about it. But I think that we need something like this, not annually, but on a more regular basis. It was very uplifting, and I want to thank Marty Puckett for listening to his heart with a desire to praise God. He knew that there was a stirring and I know that he prayed and listened. It was very pleasant to be in true praise and journey with your brothers and sisters, it was so uplifting.

D.

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How does debating issues get us closer to God? Does what we do alone bring us closer in our worship? If I lead a prayer and tell everyone that because of my prayer it will enhance your worship, am I in the wrong, and if so why can anyone say that they bring something to my worship? Is there a danger of having ego clashes for the people that have the limelight? Were the letters to the churches from Paul just debate and speculation? Did the disciples ever say you should do this because we feel that is what the Lord meant, or was it because they truly walked with God? Did Paul confront Peter because he was feeling left out or because he felt that Peter was not doing God’s will? Was Peter with the Jews because they were the chosen people and everyone else was wrong? Should everyone worship as I worship because my eyes were opened to how to truly please God? Are my arguments about what should and shouldn’t be included in the worship the last word? Because I have studied, worshiped, and looked into various different works from the greatest theologians that have ever walked, does this mean that God accepts my praise over yours?

Have I become so right that you are now so wrong? Why has God opened my eyes and left yours closed? What is praise? What is worship? Is love still the greatest command? Can we walk with our heads held high and still see the fallen? Can we lean on God’s chest with a heart that is still searching? Can God love me though I split the Church with my convictions? Are my thoughts on praise from my journey or from another? Do I seek men’s approval or God’s? Do we seek the lost because they are easier to train to our way of thinking? Will God accept me because I am a liberal? Will God accept me because I am a conservative? Will God accept me because I stopped searching His true will?

D.

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I watched The Today Show the other day, and I found out that Americas top hated sin is (insert drum roll) Adultery! The reporter said that it was considered worse then, in his words, ‘living in sin’, and premarital sex. He seemed surprised, I guess that the others are victimless sins. It was mentioned that anyone committing adultery is seen to wear a proverbial scarlet A, target of gossip, hate, chastisement, on and on. Even though, statistically, America is one of the lowest on average of any other industrialized nation in committing adultery, we hate it the worse out of all the other hedonistic sins.

Aren’t all sins equal? It is hard to lump our sins in with the ‘top ten worse sins’ isn’t it? Homosexuals, liars, thiefs, procrastinators, murderers, gossips, etc. are all equal. There is a fine line in how we deal with others that sin, we don’t want to judge do we? We don’t want to coddle either. I have news for you and myself, we all sin. GASP! It might not be the really big sins, but a sin is a sin is a sin. There are all kind of different schools of thoughts on this: Being born this way; Freudian; Jung; Social norms; etc. We could debate the reason all day long, people have written series of books on the subject. That is not what I am interested in right now, it is how we handle sins and the sinners (all of us).

We seem to be careful not to rebuke sometimes because we feel that we are judging. You can call me an ex-addict because I am, if I was still in that lifestyle I would want you to confront me, someone had to before I could open my eyes, but there is a difference in pointing out my ‘faults’ and condemning me. There is a difference in you talking behind my back and coming to me face to face with concern and love. On the other side of the coin there is a difference between you taking up for me against the world and telling me we all have our sins, and not rebuking me gently with concern and love. It’s a struggle to not give into our temptations whatever they might be, we don’t need to be enabled.

Jesus talked to the woman at the well, no matter what it looked like to others, He wanted her to know about the living water. She tried to let Him know she wasn’t married, He confronted her with her sin, ‘You say well. The man you live with is not your husband.’ He rebuked her not to continue in sin, He didn’t tell her she would not sin again, He didn’t tell her that from now on it will be a cake walk. The same with the woman that was to be stoned. Those who judged surrounded her to stone her, after they left Jesus did not say to her, ‘Can you believe them? Judging you like that. Well, I happen to know that half of them purchase prostitutes on a regular basis, and here they are judging you.’ He was kind to her, but He rebuked her to go and sin no more. Jesus was without sin, and if He wanted to, He could have judged the whole lot of them. In fact the one that could have thrown stones was Jesus, He was truly without sin. Yet He didn’t, He gently rebuked and welcomed.

Here I am going on again with something that everyone knows about. I know that I am not saying anything new, or nothing that you don’t know about. But seeing how the world views sin, wanting to pick and choose which will be accepted and which will not, makes me think that as Christians we need to be a better example. To show that no sin should be accepted, but the sinner should be loved and lifted up, not only because we are all His children, but we need lifted up also. We need a support base, to share our struggles, our misunderstandings, our fears, our prayers to be the children our Father longs for us to be, to be reminded that none of us are perfect, and we all need that shoulder to lean on.

D.

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I was watching the interviews of some of the kids from Virginia and it amazed me that everyone was talking about prayers and community outreach as being the most important thing for them right now. Of course the handful that were interviewed cannot speak for all, only for themselves and during this time of their loss of boyfriends, girlfriends, close friends, sisters, brothers they wanted prayers. I didn’t see any interviews with parents, which is understandable. I know that there are questions about why God allowed this. I also know that there are people that are leaning on the same God that others are turning away from, and the same God that is being questioned and blamed. The shooter killed himself, the question is how do we keep this from happening? How can a campus that encompassed enough kids to make up a small city be secured?

My youngest daughter, Brittany, called me about a month ago with some alarming news that a kid in their class was seen on myspace holding two guns and a long list of possibly random kids that he was planning on shooting. His myspace was protected with a password that only people that he invited to view his site could get on, someone that was invited to view it saw it and told the administration about it. Needless to say they were on high alert, they got the kid and the accomplishes, but from what I was told just kept them over the weekend. What was I to do? She lives twenty minutes away, I know that she called her mother to pick her up and she was safe for the time being, others were excused for the day also. Thank God nothing happened that day, thank God for the people that were saved from Virginia, but what about the ones that weren’t? Prayers will be sent out and it will be remembered as the worse massacre in U.S. history, the one before this was in 1966 in Texas.

I have no answers, I think that it is something that is taken all in an individual way. Some survivors, and parents will turn more toward God for comfort and support though they know that some questions will not be answered, and that they are stuck with an emptiness that will be with them for the rest of their lifes. Others will turn away from God, or if they did not believe before, will use this as an argument against God. But there is no doubt that in one way or other God will be on their mind.

Sometimes I feel alone, isolated. I am secure in my faith, I know that God is with us. I know that God is not always behind the bad times, but I believe that He is our great comforter if we allow it. It is not up to me to take on all the hard questions, I was not asked to, and God is greater then me. But I feel alone at times, overwhelmed with my own questions. An insignificant dot.

I have a picture that was done for one of my classes, it is a process called stippling, a picture made up of nothing but dots. If one of those dots were not there the picture would not look right, all of the dots work together to make the picture but none of the dots stand out on their own. I know that this is not a new way of thinking, but it helps me sometimes to see myself as one of those dots.  If we look at those dots as community, and God as a whole being the picture, we can see a support base. We are in it together even if we are not affected directly, our hearts go out during difficult times, not necessarily trying to answer the questions of why, or to say we understand, we don’t. But to support where we can. Lift up the families, friends, survivors in comfort where comfort is difficult to find.

D.

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Light & Day

I thought that I would put these videos on today. The group is The Polyphonic Spree, the lead singer used to be in a group called The Tripping Daisies, he has been called gay because of his movements and overall happiness, the group has been called a cult because of the robes. There has been more judging for this happy little troupe, I don’t know if any of the rumors are true, I just know that they are happy and they sing uplifting songs, and at times praise God. I think that no one can understand how they can be happy all the time. That seems to get on peoples nerves, they look for any weakness in them and can’t wait to point out any contradiction. Sound familiar? I admit they are easy targets, maybe because they are not worried what the world thinks. I ask you to watch their video and listen truly to your thoughts, did they make you feel good, or uncomfortable? The 2nd video has finishing commentary by Dr. Dorian while The Polyphonic Spree plays in the background.
D.

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