The Lord has a sense of humor and He is so true to His word. When I selected these 13 inspirational Thoughts for 2013, it was a spur of the moment thing and the verses truly just struck my heart as I was reading through them. Little did I know that He was actually going to ask me to walk these things out in the reality of life in the days, weeks and months ahead! So these verses and any thoughts that follow are being written from the trenches of life and are not being shared from any high and lofty seat:
If you preach, just preach God’s Message, nothing else;
if you help, just help, don’t take over;
if you teach, stick to your teaching;
if you give encouraging guidance, be careful that you don’t get bossy;
if you’re put in charge, don’t manipulate;
if you’re called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond;
if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t let yourself get irritated with them or depressed by them.
Keep a smile on your face.
As I read through these verses, pretty much every single one of them I have found myself doing the opposite of them. So as I sit in the reality of my actions and I've asked the Lord for wisdom, clarity and HELP these are some of the places that He has taken me:
Hebrews 12: 1b-7
And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, 2 fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. 3 Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.
4 In your struggle against sin, you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood. 5 And have you completely forgotten this word of encouragement that addresses you as a father addresses his son? It says,
“My son, do not make light of the Lord’s discipline,
and do not lose heart when he rebukes you,
6 because the Lord disciplines the one he loves,
and he chastens everyone he accepts as his son.”[a]
7 Endure hardship as discipline; God is treating you as his children. For what children are not disciplined by their father?
As I work through these struggles in my heart and mind this is the only place where I have been able to land in a place of peace. I am thankful for this season of Lent, which has kept the reality of the cross forefront in my mind. The list of Paul's from Romans 12 are all good things, things that we can do with God's help but what becomes evident is that even in doing "good things" over-enthusiasm can soon blind us from the way of love. So as my sister sweetly reminded me yesterday, "Maybe, I should read my own blog," I've settled down to consider Him:
Through our first 6 inspirations He has clearly shown that He is up to something beautiful and life-changing. He has invited us to walk alongside Him in this venture. But the foundational ground-work has to be and always remain LOVE. And in this walk of LOVE we have to allow individuals to remain individuals - to see them with Christ's love and compassion, otherwise we can quickly become blinded.