Who Cares?

As I get more chronologically challenged [PC for getting older] I am discovering that life is a lot about balance. Hobbies are great but they must be balanced with work and family responsibilities. My doctor once told me it isn’t so much what you eat but rather how much you eat. One slice of pizza [may be two] is fine but not four or five = balance. 

Sometimes a person will say that the Bible is full of contradictions. They quote one verse and then quote another which seems to contradict the first. Allow me to give you an example. 

We should not care what others think of us. Proverbs 29:25 “It is dangerous to be concerned with what others think of you, but if you trust the Lord, you are safe.”  From an early age we work to get approval, whether it was proving to our parents that we could ride a bike without training wheels, or taking our first step—caring what other people think seems evitable. We need to get to the point where we don’t care what the media says, how colleagues feel about us, or live in a state of constant fear or agony of what others think. Do not allow others opinion of you dictate how you live.

We need to care what others think.  On the other hand, Proverbs 22:1 says, “A good name is to be more desired than great wealth, favor is better than silver and gold. If we’re not careful, our effort to not care about what others think can subtly turn into not caring about anyone. John Maxwell said, “People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care” When people know that you care about them, you will have a platform to share the Gospel. We must go out of our way to present ourselves in the best light possible, not because we are people pleasers but because we are God pleasers.

The bottom line is balance.

  • Don’t allow people’s opinion of you put you in an emotional, spiritual straight jacket.
  • Live in such a manner that people know that a genuinely care about them. 

Advertisements

Blending in? or Standing Out?

There are many things that hinder a Christ-follower was from maturing and growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ. Too often we settle for the status quo and do not make the effort to rise above the ‘norm.’ Worrying about other people’s acceptance of us is one of the greatest strongholds to overcome. Nowhere is this seen more clearly than in our teen years. Socialists use the term “peer pressure” to describe this natural emotion. This explains why some good kids do some bad things they would not normally do. They would rather “blend in” than “standout.”

Image result for Pleasing God Before Man

The Apostle Paul faced this in writing to the Galatian church. “Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.” Paul is saying it is possible to be more people-oriented than God-oriented. Proverbs 29:25 tells us,“Fear of man will prove to be a snare, but whoever trusts in the Lord is kept safe.”

It’s sad to see people who try to please everyone – one minute they are pleasing one person; the next minute pleasing someone else. They remind me of the chameleon. They change with the environment; trying to fit in with whatever crowd they are around.

Jesus told us there are rewards for whoever you are trying to please. If you are trying to impress and please people; their response is your reward.Mt 6:2, Mt 6:5; Mt 6:16.

If you are seeking to please God, your reward will come later: Mt 5:12 Mt 6:1 James 1:12 Just to name a few.

If we displease God, does it matter whom we please? If we please Him does it matter whom we displease?” ― Leonard Ravenhill, Why Revival Tarries: A Classic on Revival

 

A Pleasing Fragrance

The human body possesses five senses: Sight, touch, smell, taste, and hearing. I wasfive-senses-of-human-beings-sight-touch-hearing-taste-and-smell-3KjD4j-clipart thinking about how much we take our senses for granted. Rarely do we stop during our hustle and bustle of life to think how blessed we are to have these abilities.

I think we would place the sense of smell last on the list but many of our memories are associated with the sense of smell. I grew up next to a neighbor who was a SUPREME baker! She made delicious cakes, pies, and cookies. But like a bee is drawn to honey, I followed the wonderful aroma of her freshly baked bread. Of course, I had to remark how wonderful the bread smelled. (Hint, Hint) She would always be gracious and give me a slice of the bread right from the oven. As a child, there was nothing better tasting than her bread with butter and homemade jelly.

In the Old Testament, animals were offered as a sacrifice for the sins of the people. The priest would take the sacrifice, put it on an altar and burn it as an act of worship and commitment. What was God’s response? “… It is a pleasing aroma, a food offering to the Lord.”  Exodus 29:18

Of course today we no longer offer animal sacrifice but we offer God our prayers as an act of our worship and commitment. “Let my prayer be accepted as sweet-smelling incense in your presence….” Psalm 14:12 GWT

But not only our prayers but our lives should be a pleasing fragrance to God. Many times when you are walking in the mall, someone walks past you and you catch an essence of the perfume/cologne they are wearing. Often you think how pleasant that fragrance is. Our lives should be so Christ-like that it is a ‘sweet savor’ to all we interact with.  “For we are a sweet savor of Christ unto God, in them that are saved, and in them, that perish;” 2 Corinthians 2:15

Gender Neutral?

I will be the first to admit that I am totally confused in regard to this “gender identity/neutrality” phenomenon. Where in this socio-political fog did our children get the right to choose which sex they wanted to be identified? I thought that we have a Creator that has makes that choice for us? Psalm 139:13. Years ago our schools attempted to feminize our boys; making boys put on dresses. I cannot wrap my mind around the idea of trying to

gender
get John Wayne, Rambo, or Dirty Harry to try on a tutu!

When God created mankind, He created them equal but different. The difference does not mean one is superior to the other. God created them differently on purpose with a different purpose for them to fulfill. “Transgender” refers to people having an emotional problem, not really a sexual one. The “transgendered” label reflects a sexual identity confusion and not a true condition. God doesn’t create a person with male anatomy and the consciousness and the heart of a female. In Genesis 1:26, the Bible says, “And God created man in His image, in His likeness; male and female He created them . . . . and it was very good.” 1 Corinthians 14:33 states, God is not a God of confusion but a God of peace…”

Maleness and femaleness are God’s choice, determined at conception. But growing into one’s masculinity or femininity and embracing it can be hindered by very early events that prevent children from having a clear sense of their gender. Gender identity is a developmental issue, and it starts at birth.

The biblical view is that God’s intent for every male is to grow into masculinity, and for every female to grow into femininity. When that doesn’t happen, the culture has come up with new labels to describe something new and different: transgendered, transsexual. It’s only recently that the culture has tried to suggest that “a woman in a man’s body” and vice versa is a variation of what is normal and right.

All sexual behavior is to be contained within the boundary of marriage. Men are to act and appear as men, and women are to act and appear as women Deut. 22:55. I realize this is a very politically incorrect perspective in a sex-saturated culture that declares sexual expression is a right for everyone.

Are You Different?

One of the strongest hindrances to the Christian life is peer pressure. No one wants to be different than those around us.  Teens have to wear a certain brand of clothes. Why? Because “everyone” at school wears that brand. People will ask when invited to a party/dinner what is “everyone” wearing? Why? We don’t want to stand out in the crowd. Peer pressure sometimes causes people to do things that go against their beliefs or values; just to be accepted. 

Even people in Old Testament times faced the ‘herd mentality.’ The nation of Israel didn’t want to be different, so they asked Samuel to give them a leader. … Now we want a king to be our leader, just like all the other nations. (Emphasis added.) God warned them they were about to make a big mistake but they insisted. The Bible repeatedly gives us scripture warning us not to give into peer pressure.

  • Romans 12:2 (NLT) Don’t copy the behavior and customs of this world…”
  • Psalm 1:1 “… do not follow the advice of the wicked, or stand around with sinners or join in with mockers.
  • 2 Chronicles 13:7 Then a whole gang of scoundrels joined him, defying Solomon’s son Rehoboam when he was young and inexperienced and could not stand up to them
  • Galatians 2:13 As a result, other Jewish believers followed Peter’s hypocrisy, and even Barnabas was led astray by their hypocrisy.

Jesus didn’t call us to blend in, but to stand out—just like He did.

Interruptions (?)

I am a person who likes to plan out their day but I also realize that I will probably not complete all the tasks on my to-do-list. Just as I am really getting into a task; it never fails; someone interrupts me. But as a Christ follower are they really ‘interruption? (The Lord directs the steps of the godly..”. (Psalm 37:23a)

No one has ever been busier than Jesus Christ. [Mark 6:31} But I never noticed how He handled ‘”interruptions.”

1) A man of influence approached Him with an urgent request to help his sick child. Though Jesus was ministering to a large crowd:
2) Jesus immediately saw this “interruption” as an opportunity to meet a need.
3) The ever-present crowd made progress difficult. Suddenly Jesus stopped and asked, “Who touched me?” The first “interruption” is now being interrupted by a second “interruption!” A woman had reached out in faith and was immediately healed. But why did Jesus stop? (Never that of this?) The woman’s healing had already occurred.

Jesus stopped to draw attention to her healing because she needed to realize that she wasn’t an interruption or unimportant to Jesus; she mattered. With compassion, He calls her “Daughter” and affirms her faith and sends her home.

Jesus invites us to come to Him like this woman did. He assures us that we’ll never be an interruption. ‘I will never turn away anyone who comes to me.” John 6:37a

Called Before Birth

A student of architecture entered a national contest for building design. When a panel of renowned architects awarded the student’s design “Honorable Mention,” she felt utterly depressed and defeated. She was, after all, at the top of her class. She had worked long hours on an innovative and beautiful design. She should have placed better.

At lunch on the last day of the convention, she sat looking at her model over an uneaten sandwich. She noticed an old man looking at her creation too. Not knowing who had designed the building, the man remarked, “This one, I think, is the best of the lot.” Hearing those words, the student went home elated.

Why? Although the competition’s judges had deemed her work the runner-up, one old man liked it. And that one old man was Frank Lloyd Wright, probably the greatest architect of the time.

One of the things I hated during my elementary school days was recess. The reason was we often played games that required choosing teams. Since I possessed minimal athletic skills, I was always one of the last students picked for a team. Needless to say, that did not boost my self-image.

Jeremiah felt like a loser at first, too. He felt like a second rate prophet from a small country, he didn’t think he could measure up to his assignment as God’s spokesman. But God reminded Jeremiah that he possessed a divine formation, a distinctive calling, a chosen vocation. Even before Jeremiah’s birth, God had prepared him to be God’s voice to God’s people.

God wants us to hear a similar message. He calls each one of us. Even before we’re born, the Creator sets us apart for a special purpose. In fact, the apostle Paul claims that God’s plan for us started long before we were born: “He chose us in him before the creation of the world” (Ephesians 1:4).

God’s calling means that we never need to feel inferior or insecure. No matter how tough life becomes, how difficult work gets, how many doubts we have—or even how far we fall—God promises, “I chose you for this, and I’ll never fail you.”