For this week, we are offering prayer to all who are in need of a comforting word. In need of understanding, in need of hope and love. In need of acceptance, those in need of reclaiming their dignity, either from illness or situation that have robbed it from them.
Those who are need of a kind smile, a friendly hello. For all who need a shoulder to cry on, or a shoulder that can take the weight of their difficulties from them. For all who are sick, who are infirmed or home bound, who are in need of a patient ear and an open heart. For the elderly, who need to know they are not all alone in this world.
For those who are dying, that their passing between this world and the next, brings them peace. For the families who care for the sick, the elderly and the dying, who only need to hear a few words, so that, they may stand brave in the face of difficult times.
For all the children who suffer, through no choice of their own, who need someone to love them, and care for them.
For these things, are you willing to be that person who is comforting, listening, compassionate, willing to give love, respect people’s dignity. Are you willing to be one who extends a hand to steady another, are you one who is willing to open your heart for others?
As you think about this today always remember, Jesus did these things for us. As Christians, we should be willing to do the same for others.
As the week begins, allow me to ask a question. Is it enough to say you are a Christian? Is it enough to say that you are saved in Christ?
Or, is there more to this than just saying it?
What makes a Christian? Besides the obvious answer of being a follower of Christ, having fund salvation in Christ or knowing that you are saved by Christ.
What does being a Christian mean to you?
Before you answer, allow me to ask, does hate define what Christ was about? does intolerance define him? Does turning away from others only because they are different define what Christ has done for all mankind?
Think about these for this week
Normally, we post a Monday matters entry, however, this Monday, we took a down day from technology and internet surfing. In order to work on our own journey, our own spiritual health. We think taking a day without cell phones, or computers, a good thing at least every now and then. We hope you had a wonderful Monday, and we will see you again on Wednesday with our weekly devotion.
Starting in August, we will post a Sunday sermon each week. We welcome your thoughts and ideas about our sermons, and look forward to speaking with you.
Wednesday devotion 6/14/17
We are all, in one way or another, broken. Either or body, or of spirit. We are broken in what we should do, but have not. Or of what we should not do, but have done anyway. We are all broken to some degree. We are all, in some way or another, not as good as we can be, we are to some extent not being as good as we can be.
However, it is in this brokenness that we find each other, we can reach out to each other and embrace a common part or our lives that is shared universally. We are broken in one way or another. But in this brokenness, there are chances for change, there are ways to fix our brokenness.
For each and every one of us, we have the ability to fix what is broken, to repair what has been done and to learn how to not become broken in the same way again. Being human is not a perfect or exact existence, it is not an easy path that we follow, it is not even a path that in some cases we would have chosen to follow. Regardless of the path we have been given or forged, we must accept that we will make mistakes, we will fall at times, we will become broken.
Whether you are religious or not, whether you accept a faith or not, at some point we will become broken. But in this brokenness, we find beauty, we find that which makes us human, we find that which we can fix, if we wish, or want to. And have the courage to do so.
Being broken is not the end, rather it is the acceptance that you can make yourself better in ways that you may have never dreamed of.
My hope and prayer for us all, is that we find and embrace our brokenness and find our way to work together to find a way to overcome it.
How do you see the people who are around you each day? What do you see when you look at another person? Do you take what you see at face value?
If you see a person with tattoos and think they must have been in prison or a member of a gang? Do you see someone who is obviously homeless, and think they are going to ask me for money for alcohol, or drugs? Or maybe you see an older person, with a far off look in their eyes and think, wow they have lost it and should be in a home? Maybe you see someone who is rather bubbly and think to yourself that they are just showing off? Or you see people who are different and think, why are they wearing that? Is that person supposed to live here? That man looks dangerous, only because his or her skin color is different from yours?
Maybe it is time to think in a different way. That very same person with all the tattoo’s: just because they have them does not mean they have spent any time in jail. Maybe for them it’s a form of personal expression. There are cultures in this world where tattooing is an important ritual, for them their tattoos express status, their place in that society.
That person who is homeless, how do you know? Maybe they have fallen on difficult times, maybe they do not want to be on the street, but every place they call for help is full, or can no longer provide assistance. And maybe they are only looking for some human compassion, so they can find some measure of dignity.
That older person, with that far off stare, maybe they are lost in the realization that their children now consider them a burden. Maybe they cannot come to terms with the idea that they spent their lives providing for their family. And now when they need their family, their family no longer wants to be with them, and that far off stare is the hurt they feel knowing that they have little left to live for.
That person who is always smiling, has an effervescent personality, is hiding behind that smile. The smile to hide the despair they feel, from trying to raise a child on a single income. They work and work and can never seem to get ahead of themselves. They do the best they can and it never seems to be enough, and that smile is the only thing that holds back the tears of hopelessness.
How about the people who dress differently, whose skin is not the same color as your own, who live daily with the knowledge that they are the outcasts, the lepers of our time. They live in fear that others will judge them on a preconceived notion that because they are different, they are somehow less important.
Maybe you feel this way, but consider this, maybe all these people feel in a similar way to you. Maybe they see you as someone who has no compassion for others, or they see you as someone who has all that they could ever want or need. Maybe they see you as one who had become so isolates in your own life that your ability to show any concern of compassion is as foreign an idea as living on another planet. They may be just as judgmental of you are you are of them, based only on what they see, rather than what they know.
Jesus tell us, “Judge not, that you be not judged. For with the judgment you pronounce you will be judged, and with the measure you use it will be measured to you. 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?” Matthew 7:1-3
If this is what we are told, then why are we so quick to judge? Why are we so quick to not understand that others may have difficulties that are greater than our willingness to judge? And why are we so willing to ignore what Jesus tells us in Matthew?
We must all understand and live by the idea that we should not judge based on what our eyes tell us. Rather, we should be willing to seek understanding about what we see and regardless of what we see. We must open our hearts and offer the compassion that can only come from one person to another.
As a society, we have become more detached from each other, more distant towards people we meet and more disengaged from society. Much of this had to do with the continual advancements in technology Cell phones, tablets, app’s and social media have become the common place way we have chosen to communicate. As such, we have lost the art of conversation, writing letters to each other and face to face communication.
We have become less focused on our communities and neighbors in favor of online communities, where we can remain anonymous, hidden by the screens of our computers and cell phones. We can choose whom we wish to talk to, and block others that we do not like, we can take videos showing terrible events, and even more disturbing, the individual not intervening to stop a fight at school, or another student being bullied.
We have become a society of people who wish to have everything at our finger tips, instantly. While not taking the time to know or understand each other.
The question must be raised, what does this have to do with a ministry, or church or even our communities at large? The simple answer is it have everything to do with it.
This is not to say that advancement in technology is a bad thing in and of itself. It is however, our willingness to replace our humanity with an electronic device. For a church or ministry, the community, members joined together for a common cause or belief, is at its core the very essence of people joining together with the Body of Christ, as a community that is capable of not only worship, but also community action. Assisting the elderly, stepping in when we see something is not right, or contacting law enforcement or fire and medical services when they are needed.
The church is a community of faith, a community of individuals, working together for the betterment of themselves and those around them. This is by no means a Christian thing, this is a humanity thing. We are all connected to each other, we are all human, we all occupy the same planet, we all live in communities where we can make positive change occur. We are bound together by basic human dignity, compassion, we are joined together (either faith based or secular based individuals) to engage and join with others to make our world a better place for everyone.
This week I offer a challenge, place your phone, or tablet or computer away for one hour, do not be distracted, rather become active in some way. Maybe taking a walk and enjoying nature, may talk to your neighbor, or say something nice to the person who is checking out your groceries. No matter what you choose to do, let us place away our distractions, for a time, and see what we have been missing.
We can all use some encouragement from time to time, here are some verses that you may want to keep in mind at times you need to hear a word or two to help you through the day. 1
“but those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary, they will walk and not be faint.”
“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.”
2 Corinthians 1:3 – 4
“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”
“So, do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you; I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.”
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.”
1 Peter 5:7
“Cast all your anxiety on him because he cares for you.”
“God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble. Therefore, we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea, though its waters roar and foam and the mountains quake with their surging.”
Perhaps you are not a Christian, then these words may provide encouragement to you
“Treat a person as they are and they will remain shall remain as they are. Treat a person as they can and should be and, they will become as they can and should be.”2
Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
“Instruction does much, but encouragement everything." 3
“Do not sit still; start moving now. In the beginning, you may not go in the direction you want, but if you are moving, you are creating alternatives and possibilities.” 4
“When we encourage others with no personal motives, we raise high, very high, Humanity's progress-standard.” 5
“But I've bought a big bat. I'm already, you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!” 6
Encouragement can come from many places and in many forms, from a simple gesture to a long talk. Find your encouragement, and in doing so, help others to find theirs.
1.) Scripture quoted from NIV Bible
2.) The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change (paraphrased)
3.) Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, Early and Miscellaneous Letters of J. W. Goethe: Including Letters to His Mother. With Notes and a Short Biography
4.) Rodolfo Costa, Advice My Parents Gave Me: and Other Lessons I Learned from My Mistakes
5.) Sri Chinmoy's Heart Garden: A Book of Aphorisms for Joy and Inspiration
6.) Dr. Seuss
Pastor Lisa Chachula