Tuesday, May 21, 2013

May 21, 2013

I was struck recently by the description of Jesus from Isaiah 42:3

"A bruised reed he will not break,
and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out."

For me this is the heart of God displayed in the life of Jesus.  It challenges me because so often we seem to believe that it is our job to point out the sins of our brothers and sisters.  Although Jesus Himself said, "Do not judge, or you too will be judged." (Matthew 7:1)  Too often, we find a "bruised reed" and we almost take pleasure in breaking it.  In the same way, we find "a smoldering wick" and we cannot wait to snuff it out.  

What is wrong with us?  How have we gotten so far off track?

I recently had a conversation with a friend.  She was talking about visiting a particular church and being disgusted because two women were holding hands a few rows in front of her.  Her take on this was that  this church must not be preaching the truth if these ladies feel comfortable there.  However, I pointed out to her that maybe there was another way to look at it.  What if these ladies have never met Jesus?  What would be Jesus' words to them?  Would he begin with condemnation, or would he first express His love and acceptance of them (not necessarily their lifestyle)?  

Are we so focused on behavior that we have lost sight of people?  

I believe the challenge for us is the same as it was for Jesus.  The challenge is how to "identify" without losing our own "identity"?  Are we secure enough in who we are in Christ to be able to interact freely (i.e. "identify") with people knowing that we can still maintain our own true "identity"?  In other words, someone else's behavior does not need to dictate my own.  I can truly love "sinners" (especially because I am one myself) without justifying their lifestyles, attitudes, behaviors, or ideas.  I believe I can love them well, and still maintain the standards to which God has called me personally.   Can you?  

I invite you to share your thoughts as we journey together with Jesus along the way ... 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

May 8, 2013 - Along the way ...

It has been a few weeks since I have written.  I apologize.  My journeys along the way ... have been many.  I have had opportunities to worship with brothers and sisters in Canada, hear stories of what God is doing around the world (particularly in West Africa among predominantly Muslim nations), and join members of the New Mexico Air National Guard in worship (both Catholic and Protestant).

It has been quite a few weeks indeed.   So what has God been teaching me along the way ...

I think of Elijah on the run from Jezebel following the remarkable events on Mount Carmel (see I Kings  18:16-39).  Exhausted, bewildered, and near the end of his rope, the living God appeared to Him.  God told him several things, but most importantly God told him, "Yet I reserve 7,000 in Israel - all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and all whose mouths have not kissed him." (I Kings 19:18)

This is what I have seen in my journeys along the way ...  God has His people.  They come from many different tribes, nations, and tongues, but they are all His and remain loyal to His cause.

It is a wonderful privilege to be a part of the worldwide people of God, and may we never forget that as  we journey we do not journey alone along the way ...