Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Loving God, Loving others

     Well, I am just here to say, I am no one important. I am honestly just a boring person with a pretty boring life sitting at home this summer. And I feel like because of that, I have no right to post anything. If you aren't important, famous, or at least memorable, then what is the point? I think that this summer God is teaching me that it is okay to be unimportant or forgotten. We can't all be famous or amazingly talented, right? And that is okay. That is more than okay. Because even though we feel boring and inadequate, Jesus has made us so much more than that. Each and every one of us. It does not matter what color of skin you have, how much you weigh, your religious beliefs, how introverted or extroverted you are, whatever it is, I don't care. And I promise God doesn't either. He may not like all of your choices, He doesn't like every choice that any one of us make.

       I think that is an important thing to remember. It is kind of an equalizer. I guarantee that not a one of us have the right to shame or judge anyone else for anything. I do not care what it is. 

      What I have been thinking about these past few days through all of this is Jesus. Jesus loved. Jesus loved everyone. Jesus ate with tax collectors and sinners, it says, in Matthew 9.

       9 As Jesus passed on from there, he saw a man called Matthew sitting at the tax booth, and he said to him, “Follow me.” And he rose and followed him. 10 And as Jesus reclined at table in the house, behold, many tax collectors and sinners came and were reclining with Jesus and his disciples. 11 And when the Pharisees saw this, they said to his disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?”12 But when he heard it, he said, “Those who are well have no need of a physician, but those who are sick. 13 Go and learn what this means, ‘I desire mercy, and not sacrifice.’ For I came not to call the righteous, but sinners.”

        Jesus was not concerned with labels. He did not care what others thought about Him. He was not saying He liked the way these people were living. But He loved them, ate with them, and showed them mercy just the same. I don't think that this means Jesus died only to forgive those who appear to be sinners, those who appear to be imperfect... It means all of us. We all mess up, we all fall short, none of us are "special" in that way.

         43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’44 But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. 46 For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? 47 And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48 You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. Matthew 5:43-48

         1“Judge not, that you be not judged. 2 For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 3 Why do you see the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? 4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when there is the log in your own eye? 5 You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye. Matthew 7:1-5

         Right now, I want to focus on one thing. And that is to love. Love everyone. I want to shine God's beautiful light and show the world that He loves each and every one of us. No matter what. There is always room for God's mercy, and His love. So stop hating someone because of how they have treated you, or may even be currently treating you. Do not hate anyone. Try to empathize and see from their point of view. All of us are struggling. Even the ones who look like they have it all together. So, for today, stick with love. Love as Jesus loves, and show the world that there is room for all of us in God's kingdom. That doesn't mean that every choice we make is perfect. Or every choice they make. It isn't up to us to make choices for someone else. It is something each and every one of us have to do for ourselves. I am almost positive though, that once you give it over to God, the right things will come in due time. I'm not saying every choice is going to be perfect. Of course not. God is perfect. His plan is perfect. His love is perfect. That is all that matters. Just show love to others as you would want to be shown love. That is the important stuff, people. Make everybody feel like a somebody. 

        34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 
Matthew 22:34-39

        So, in conclusion... If any of you have anything on your heart, or if you just need someone to listen, I am always here. (And really, don't ever feel intimidated, I promise I am probably more intimidated by you than you are of me). Please don't ever give up on God's plan for you. Trust me, I know it is difficult sometimes. His plan outweighs all of these present struggles though. I pray we all focus on loving a little more each day.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

A Look on the Heart

1 Samuel 16

Samuel is sent to go find a new king. Because obviously Solomon is a crazy guy and is not fit to be the king anymore. He goes to Jesse, to look over his many sons and pick out the one that God has chosen to be king. Samuel looked over every son, or so he thought, and God still had not chosen someone to be the king. Jesse sent for David, the youngest son, whom no one thought had a chance. Of course God picked him. He saw the potential inside of David and chose him for that. None of the outward muscle, athleticism, or looks swayed His decision.

When passing people in the hallway at school or work, or even church, (yes I said it) are we looking at what really matters?

Example: wow I'm sure that girl would be lovely if I could just get to know her. She is a daughter of God, in fact. I wonder if she is aware of that fact today.

Or: that guy might look goofy on the outside, maybe a little weird, but he is a really nice guy. He has a big heart for people and for God. He is always smiling at others and offering a word of encouragement. He could probably use some encouragement himself.

Now, I'm just as guilty of this as you are. If not more guilty. That's why I am choosing to write about it. It's a subject that weighs deeply on my heart. I have a hard time seeing others as God sees them, and that leads to judgment on my part. This side of the issue isn't where my real problem lies, though.

It's focusing too much on my outward appearance. If I'm not on the next new diet and feeling slim, I feel awful about myself inside. I obsess over every bite. I obsess over what I will wear. I obsess especially what others will think.

If I'm not being told by someone that I look good, I automatically assume I look terrible. And why am I focusing so much on that? Why do I spend so much time hating the woman that I have to live with for the rest of my life? That woman is me. She may not be a Victoria's Secret model or "Jennifer Lawrence" material, but she is, after all, a daughter of God.

You don't need friends all around you constantly reassuring you. You don't need a boyfriend, husband, wife etc. to tell you that you look good.

No. Reassurance does not come from other people, from a relationship, or even from you.

It comes straight from God. The creator of the whole universe. He cares enough to listen to each and every one of our struggles, and to get to know each and every one of us on the most personal level possible. He thinks you are amazing. No matter what size you are, how many designer clothes you have, or what your haircut looks like. He doesn't care how much weight you can lift at the gym, and I promise He doesn't care what anyone else thinks about you.

Can we please stop hating ourselves and looking for reassurance in all the wrong places, and instead looking within, at what God sees? Can we stop making snap judgments based on appearance, social status, or general awkwardness?

Start looking within and seeing a wonderful piece of God's creation. Start looking around you, and begin to see the beauty in all of God's beloved children. No matter if they have wronged you, what their reputation is, or how they might appear on the outside, God sees them as a wonderful piece of His creation. When we begin to see as God sees, maybe we will stop focusing so much on the negative aspects of ourselves and others. Maybe then we can focus on the potential, and the wonderful spiritual gifts of each and every one of us.

But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” (‭1 Samuel‬ ‭16‬:‭7‬