Wednesday, December 26, 2012

It’s Not Easy...

 In a Muppet movie, Kermit the Frog is singing while sitting on a Lilly pad. The title of the song was “Its Not Easy Being Green.” In the song he describes how life can be tough for a small green frog. That song  applies to most of us at various times in our lives.    We only  need to change the last word of the title to, “It’s Not Easy Being Me.”

Most of us have experienced the stress of not being accepted by others.  We have experienced the pain of rejection and of being unfairly judged. The teenage years for many are characterized by wide swings of emotions. We find it much easier to remember the stress we experienced rather than the stress we caused others. Many of our bad experiences can toss us about in life and batter our self-image. Webster’s NewWorld Dictionary defines self-image as “an individual’s conception of himself and his own identity, abilities, worth, etc.”  In trying to deal with a bad self-image, some people promote the concept of positive self-esteem.  They believe that if I tell myself that I am wonderful, then I will feel better about myself and the world.  However, this is not tied to truth. If someone honestly looks in a mirror, they cannot say “I am wonderful.”  Those words go against an awareness  in our own conscience that we are not wonderful. Those words are also contracted by the sin in our lives.

Some people try to try to feel better about themselves by putting others down. This is seen in kids calling each other bad names or calling attention to some physical deficiencies. In our American culture this can be seen in racist attitudes which degrade people because of the color of their skin. Where then should we get our self-image, our self-esteem? Where should we get our value?

Everyone has value, self-worth, because God loves us and because we are made in the image of  God.

God’s love is expressed in John 3:16 (KJV) “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”  Our value  comes from God’s  infinite love which He showed by sending His Son to die on the cross for our sins. We do not deserve God’s  love. “God does not love that which is already in itself worthy of love, but on the contrary, that which in itself has no worth acquires worth just by becoming the object of God's love. [Nygren, "Agape and Eros," 78]” While no one can merit God’s love, it is experienced by who “believeth in him.”

Our value also comes from being made in God’s image. Genesis 1:27 (KJV) “So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.”
God is different from man in that since He is spirit (John 4:24), He has no physical image. God is everywhere present; we are in only one place at one time (Eph 4:6). Three common points are that as He has intellect, will, and emotions, He has given them to us (Gen 1:26-28; 2:7,16-18) The image of God consists of these common attributes.

Some implications of  realizing our value is ultimately from God include: 1.All people are important to God. (No individual or group is more important than any other). 2. We should respect all people because they all have worth.  People have incredible  worth not because of what they  do, but because of Whom they belong to.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

You are annoying

You are annoying. To be honest, I am annoying. Most of us (first as children, and then as Parents are annoying.

We are annoying because we all face the limitations of time, energy, and wisdom. We are also annoying from what the Bible calls sin.

 Romans 3:23 (MSG)
23 Since we've compiled this long and sorry record as sinners (both us and them) and proved that we are utterly incapable of living the glorious lives God wills for us,

We will be dealing with annoying people until we pass or until Jesus returns.  So the bottom line is give and accept grace from each other. Unless someone you are dealing with is evil, cut them some slack.
With some qualification (ie not justifying bad behavior) and a grain of salt, cut yourself some slack.

P.S. The parents’ curse is real: “I can’t wait till your kids do this to you!”

Saturday, September 22, 2012

You can't take it with you

From a recent AP story

CARSON CITY, Nev. (AP) — A Carson City recluse whose body was found in his home at least a month after he died left only $200 in his bank account.
But as Walter Samaszko Jr.’s house was being cleared for sale, officials made a surprise discovery: gold bars and coins valued at $7 million.

This story reminds me of Jesus' words in
Matthew 6:20-21 (NIV)
20 But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

I would assume that 69 years old Walter was seeking security for himself by hoarding gold.  
Our treasure reflects where our hearts are at. I remember my Dad telling me a number of years before he died, "I don't care what you do with the house, but save my tools."
Our treasure, our use of talent and time, all reflect what is important to us.

I once heard a memorable sermon by Haddon Robinson. His main idea was, "You can't take it with you, but you can send it ahead."

Friday, September 21, 2012

Heavenly Minded: the good, the bad, the ugly

Heavenly minded is bad and ugly for you when you ignore the present in light of the eternal.

Heavenly minded is good for you when you live in the present in light of the eternal.

Colossians 3:1-4 (NIV) 1 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is seated at the right hand of God.
2 Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.
3 For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God.
4 When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

Monday, September 17, 2012

When in Doubt

When in Doubt – Read the Directions.

I have not always done a good job of reading the directions which come with the various things you buy. After my father passed away, I inherited his wood tools. The thought of cutting my fingers off motivated me to read the directions which came with the table saw, router, etc…  I also took a wood working class at a local high school a few years ago.  The only thing I did in the shop which required stitches was being careless with a chisel a few years ago.

When in doubt regarding the morality of a decision, read the directions (your Bible).  When still in doubt about the morality of a situation or an opportunity, don’t do it. When you violate your conscience too many times, it tends to become seared and a poor guide.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Questions I've asked myself

Over the years I've talked with people who want to rush to a quick answer without pondering the question. [What is the right question?].  I've observed that sometimes a good question is much better a quick answer, or sometimes even a good answer. A good question encourages us to think.

Some questions I’ve asked myself:

What is the act of faith in the opportunity ahead of me?

What do most people need to see to respond in faith?

What may be the “evidence of the grace of God?”  (cf.  Acts 11:23)

How do you know if something is a miracle from God?

Is it appropriate to ask (and then expect) a miracle from God?

Does my motivation affect whether God will give a miracle?

What does a “No” answer to a miracle request mean?