Sunday, February 27, 2011

What's Good For Others is Good For...

Gratitude Journal 2-27-11
1. Early leaf bubs on trees
2. HGTV (going to win that house!)
3. Early promise of good year for BRAVES
4. Young Minister Support Group
5. Sunday naps

Heard a radio minister re-telling the Bible story of Jesus feeding the 5,000.
He talked of the lack of faith of the disciples in feeding such a large group. The search for food and the young man (boy) with five loaves and two fish... He shared how the group was instructed to sit down in 'sections' to make distribution easier.

Then the radio minister chided all those folks who thought that the Bible story was no literally true. He talked of how some preachers and teachers today explain miracles away. Some (he said) interpreted that the cast of thousands in this story had brought sufficient food and 'when they saw the young man share his meager meal, they too took their lunches out and everyone had plenty to eat.'

This is where our friendly radio minister should have stopped.

However, after several more minutes of chiding others for their bad habits of adding things to scripture he began to get taken away liberties himself. He said... "you know, I just don't believe Jesus would give those folks cold fish. I bet it was nice and warm and tasty when they received it!"

Lord, isn't that just like me? Don't I too apply rules to others, yet when I get 'full of myself' I take liberties? Don't I point out the beam in my neighbor's eye without noticing the log in my own?

Lord forgive and remind me often.


Saturday, February 19, 2011

I know it when I see it...

Gratitude Journal 2-19-11
1. Valentine's Day with my special lady!
2. Doctors who know what they are talking about...
3. Opportunities to meet new folks
4. The return of BASEBALL SEASON - 2011
5. The gift of physical energy


Wouldn't it be great if one could look on any decision and see all the variety of thoughts that went into the 'solution' decided upon... whether it was my decision or yours? I believe most folks want to do their best. We are all just filled with details, life experiences, and influences beyond our own consciousness!

My experience as a Southern white male seems to indicate those of us in RED states are a bit quicker to pass judgement on our fellow citizens - both as Americans or as one who professes to be part of God's kingdom (and for me the two are not synonymous). It seems easy for me to look on my neighbor and see him or her as elitist or ignorant, brilliant or just plain stupid. He or she rarely acts with the same purity of heart or struggling with the personal flaws I find in myself. They either represent one extreme side or the other.

When I see grace and mercy my heart rejoices.
However, when I see folks questioning the motives of others I get queasy...

When I hear folks making decisions about what is in my best interest - particularly without asking me directly - I squirm.
Yet I rarely have difficulty expressing a quick opinion about 'what needs to be done'...

When I listen to preachers and pundits telling me what I 'should' think or what I 'should' believe... I rise up in defensiveness.
However, there are definitely times when I would love to tell others when I believe they are 'wrong'...

Wonder what might happen if I see these times as opportunities to address my own dark side?
Wonder what it might be like to see myself as a combination of both brilliance and a certain degree of flawedness too?

If I am honest both extremes are within me. I just need to grow more peaceful within my own skin. I KNOW IT WHEN I SEE IT. I know it when I can allow myself to be o.k. and when I allow others to be o.k. as they are.

I know about 'questioning the motives of others' because I do it myself. When a minister or legislator stands and proclaims what God intends and I know their understandings don't speak for me... instead of getting defensive maybe I would grow closer to God's kingdom if I found ways to address the same issue from another perspective and be open to honest dialogue?

Holy Scripture says, "Seek the truth and it will set you free." It doesn't say it will set others free when I HAVE THE TRUTH!

God help me to know it when I see it...

Sunday, February 13, 2011

What say ye? Glass half empty.. OR Glass half full?

Gratitude Journal
1. Return of bright sunny days!
2. Valentines Day - and all the fantasy involved...
3. Productive, restful days
4. HOPE from unexpected places!
5. Good medical reports for family and friends.

It is possible to become depressed and grumpy the older we get! For an introvert often longs periods of time alone can lead to too much reflection. Life may loose all joy and anticipation for something better may be lost.

Where are you today? I am definitely getting older! However, I have generally been pretty optimistic throughout my life journey. Some have actually accused me of being almost 'Pollyanna' about the realities of life. "John, go away if you are not willing to face the cold hard facts."

Well, I am facing cold, often hard facts and yet I plan on being committed to the view of the 'glass have full'. I believe we need to be transformed daily toward the positive. God knows that life can beat us down! And we can face hardships and disappointment at every corner.

BUT, Thank God - the battle has already been won. The victory is secure.

Let me hasten to add - I am not calling for everyone to 'put on a HAPPY FACE' or resort to wearing a WWJD bracelet. I am inviting an embrace of life as invitation and joy... not as the world defines 'happiness'... but joy in our hearts for the abundance and gifts we have received.

Take heart - God is our source and strength.