Wednesday, June 15, 2016

CARING

     We eight Canadians who graduated from Charis Bible College had a hoot presenting a spoof at the end-of-the-year talent show. It highlighted instructors' quirks, but our winter clothing and sports equipment with summer close to arriving in this part of the world also made a statement. We were saying that, like other nations spread over vast geographic areas, Canada includes a variety of climate zones. Some have no idea that Arctic conditions only exist in the extreme north.

     With technology making information available throughout the world, we take for granted that people are in the know. We only need to look at ourselves to realize that is not true. We pay attention to what affects us and to what catches our interest. Our knowledge of other cultures is very limited. So is our care for others. We learn what we care about.

     Life can become rich if we are outward-focused. The Lord Jesus taught us to care for others and treat them as we want to be cared for. (Matthew 7:12) When we manage to do this, we have joy, but Jesus did not mention any guarantee that the ones we are considerate of will return kindness.

     Expectations are important. They motivate us and keep us looking forward in our daily lives. We can be crushed or exhilarated depending on whether they are met. A huge dose of frustration can be avoided when our expectations are in a secure place.

     When we follow the leading of the Holy Spirit, we will be a blessing to those around us. If our purpose is to please God, we can't be disappointed by the way others respond to us. Whatever people enjoy from our doings is a by-product. Our joy comes from the loving relationship believers share with Father God.  

     Jesus set the priorities for us when He said we should first love God with a whole heart; then love others as ourselves. (Mark 12:30,31) Father God knows and understands each of us completely. In the long term we will reap what we sow. From day to day our expectations will never be disappointed if we are resting in Him. And we will bless the Lord as we come to know and love others.

     

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

THE VALUE OF ONE

     A scruffy little shrub growing by the roadside caught my eye. Somehow it had taken root and grown tall enough to be noticed. Covered with tiny white blooms it stood alone in what had been a fence row. I enjoyed its beauty, and it got me thinking about the importance of "one".

     One break in the thread in the hem of a garment can cause the hem to fall. One weak link in a chain, one bolt missing from a machine, one part of our physical bodies unable to fulfill its function... Each component of everything that exists has a purpose and is important.

     Jesus said Father God sees when a sparrow falls to the ground. (Matthew 10:29) He cares about the birds. (Matthew 6:26) He cares about the flowers. (Matthew 6:28,29) But each individual person... you and me... He knows the number of hairs on our heads! (Matthew 10:30)

     God created man because He wanted man. He wanted fellowship with the intelligent creature He created. One man, Adam, broke that relationship. One man, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus, made it possible for it to be restored.


     That God refused to give up on any one of us, on you, on me; that He would sacrifice His Son rather than lose man; that Jesus would give His life so we could know and enjoy God... Apart from God, humans have no concept of such love.

     In measure, the love of parent for child is similar, but no match for the love of God. Even if a mother could forget her child, Father God has promised that He will never forget one of us. (Isaiah 49:15)

     I look at a single Iris, a gorgeous flower in a weedy patch, and I consider the value of "one". Each person living is of such infinite worth to Father God that He sent the Lord Jesus to die on the cross. He loves. He cares. He wants a close special relationship with you, with me. If that is not reality, guess which ONE is not engaging.