Thursday, January 31, 2008

Issues

My daughter and I have had some issues come between us lately.

That got me to thinking how many times God and I have had issues come between Him and I. We have had many. And of course, the issues in this relationship are not a two way street. When it comes to my daughter and I, we're both at fault. When it comes to God and I, I am at fault. It's amazing how He uses my relationship with my daughter to show me how He feels when I grieve Him. It never fails. I always find myself thinking: "This is how God must feel when I rebel against Him."

He also uses my relationship with my daughter when it comes to who she is and the good things she does. When I look at her and things are going good and think about how beautiful and talented she is, I think: "This is how God must feel about me when He looks upon me." He, after all, chose me to be His child when I didn't want much at all to do with Him. Why would he do that except that He loves me? It's hard for me to understand why I don't think like this much of the time. Probably because I have been taught that God is Holy - not to be taken lightly or trifled with - and to think of Him as my Savior and King - He is to be reverently thought of and spoken about. That's all true, but the problem is, that would be an incomplete picture. In the Bible, he says we are his friends. Friends like each other. They spend time with each other. They seek out each other's advice in times of indecision. They seek each other's comfort in times of distress. Friends might respect one another, even revere each other, but certainly they don't think of each other as a kind of untouchable figure. But with God, we do - or at least I do.

Father, while you indeed are my King and Savior; You are to be revered because You are Holy. But you are also my friend. Remind me of that. Often. Thank you for Your love and Your sacrifice for me. I exalt you before men and raise your name for all to see. You are my only hope, not only here on earth, but for all eternity.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Can't They Clean Up Some Before We Let Them In?

I was listening to a friend earlier today talking about how the church tends to not want to deal with those that aren’t like them - those that might not have enough money to dress the same as church folks do, or if they don’t have all their ducks in a row personally - maybe they are addicted to something - maybe they’re addicted to many somethings. Or maybe they’re not the right color - or maybe we just don’t understand them because they come from a different background or culture. No matter the reason, many times we just keep those people at arms length. The gist of his comments were that if we are going to do that, then we have forgotten from whence we came. We have forgotten that we were dirty before God. That we were unacceptable before God. That we were rebellious against God. That we had no business coming before a God Who is perfect expecting anything. Heck, even as Christians, we’re still sinful and unacceptable but for the fact that Jesus took brunt of punishment for our sin. And that’s the point. That God accepted us right where we were at - sin and all. We stunk, possibly literally, to high heaven to Him - we smelled REALLY bad. Because we were stuck in the rubbish of our sin. And we were unable to do anything to improve our standing with Him. But He still accepted us. In fact, the Bible says that while we were still in willful rebellion against Him, Christ died for us.

So... what makes us think we can treat those that "smell" bad to us any differently?

God give us courage to step forward to lend a helping hand to someone we really don’t want to help. They “smell” to us - we don’t like them. Yet you LOVE them. Empower us to show that love of yours that we are unable to show on our own. After all, You Lord, hung out with those that the establishment religion abhorred - and you chastised them for being unwilling to help the sick - those that needed you. Let us not be the modern day version of that religious establishment. Let us take Your love to those that need it - regardless of their station in life and regardless of the barriers that we create to keep us from doing what you would want us to do.