Sitting and thinking this beautiful May morning…
I’m thinking about keeping attention focused on Jesus. That sounds easy but not so much when we’re going through stressful times. It is so easy to keep attention on whatever the issues are and how frustrated we get. Sometimes we can get so caught up in the excitement of our pain that we put Jesus on the back burner until we can muster some energy to look his way.
Even when we know better.
I have learned from experience that even though we go through the fire of others looking down on us for whatever reason, even though we have to fend off the flaming arrows of the evil one, even though it seems that no good outcome is even on the horizon much less right in front of us…our charge is to trust Jesus, to call on him to make whatever resolves, and keep our minds focused on what is right and good.
We are to pray for those who want to be our enemies, ask God to bless them and change them. When we persevere God will answer.
It is so difficult to pray for our adversaries that we rarely think of it, but praying for them allows us to see them in a different light and it puts our focus back on Jesus, the one who can make the necessary changes.
Like any of our relationships with people, when we serve them, when we pray for them, when we act on their behalf…we receive much more than we give because our focus is on Jesus…not our issues.
A while back I read this:
“Always give more than you take.”
Lots of things came to my mind, but I thought most about life in general. Giving more than you take keeps our focus on other people and puts our mind on something other than ourselves. Because if most people are like me, and I sort of believe they are, we spend way too much time focusing our attention on ourselves, our wants, our problems, our wealth, our happiness.
Spending excessive amounts of time on ourselves tends to make us self-centered, and a self-centered attitude always tries to take more than we give.
Look for ways to be giving.
Who do we see who are needy?
How can we be helpful?
What do we have to offer?
Think about other people first.
Go through the day today thinking about how we can give time, attention, love, mercy, grace…focus on others and their needs before we think about our own wants.
Just some thoughts this morning.
I was writing a scathing post about the difference between what I have termed real ministry, and those who don’t have a clue about love, mercy, or grace (Some within the church). But then I realized that I was about to fall for the same distractions that plague the church; arguing, dissension and generally taking eyes off of Jesus – all in Jesus’ name. And I thought about the need for real ministry – real ministry defined as not just pointing people to Jesus but walking with them along the way through their doubt, heartaches or disenchantment. And I think:
Real ministry is more important than all the pious talk.
Real ministry is doing the difficult task of dealing with the lives of people.
Real ministry is putting physical hands on the sick, the hurt, the broken without judgment or regard to their race, social or economic status or sexual orientation.
Real ministry is caring about souls to the point of hurting with them.
Each of us who claim Jesus are tasked to do these things.
And all the while distractions abound.
There are countless things that attempt to come between us and Jesus, everything from people who claim they know the answers, to the evil that stalks us when we claim Jesus and do our best to follow him. But in spite of all those things we are called to keep our eyes focused on what is right and good. As the Apostle Paul says:
“…whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.” Philippians 4:8
So refrain from falling to the temptation of allowing anger to control us. Focus on love, mercy, and grace and do our best to offer those things to all we are able as well as encourage others to do the same. Stand on these principles knowing that some will find fault…but none can deny our love or break our relationship with Jesus without our assent.
Thinking about the Beatitudes today from Matthew 5:3-12, All of the things Jesus talked about are character traits that lead to a right relationship with God. This morning I’m especially looking at:
“Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.” (Mat. 5:7)
The trait of giving mercy is shown throughout the Scriptures both Old Testament and New Testament. I am especially reminded of the time when David showed mercy to King Saul as David crept unnoticed and cut off a piece of Saul’s robe but did not kill him. (1 Samuel 24: 8-13) David was a man of integrity driven by his love for God and his bent on pleasing Go by being obedient to God’s word.
Through the Beatitudes we are called to be merciful, to offer mercy, to show mercy…like David, our strength of character is in part measured by how we are merciful to others, especially those who don’t ask for it or even understand what it means.
To be merciful is to be like Jesus.
Watching the beauty of the morning unfold I am reminded of the Apostle Paul’s words to the church…
“Rejoice in the Lord always. I will say it again: Rejoice! Let your gentleness be evident to all.” Philippians 4:4-5
Gentleness is one of those qualities that is often seen as weakness…but gentleness seems to be a strength to me. Without gentleness strength is simply a dangerous deficiency.
Thinking Gentleness today…
Mountain Azalea in the woods behind the house.
Watching it rain this morning, and pondering Philippians 2:5:
“Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus…”
And then the writer goes on to talk about how Jesus became one of us, humbled himself, and was obedient to the depths of his soul.
And I wonder if I might be strong of heart enough to have that same mindset…
How difficult it is to be humble and loving. We often think we’re loving, we want to be, we try hard to be, we even go out of our way to be loving. But the mind of Jesus goes much farther, the mind of Jesus is loving to those who are different from us, those who believe different from us, those who interpret the Scriptures different from us, even those we perceive as our enemies. And often we substitute humility and obedience with righteous anger.
I have heard so many try to legitimize their anger at various groups of people by saying that Jesus got angry, and they go on to cite Jesus clearing the temple of the merchants and money changers. Yes Jesus did get angry from time to time, he was angry at those who acted from selfish ambition, those who misrepresented the love he came to give to all people. To put it in terms of today, Jesus was angry because the very ones who claimed his name didn’t share his vision of love.
The gist of Jesus’ teaching was/is love.
So… a question to think about. How can we let the same mind be in us that was in Jesus?
For each thing we attempt to do or say today, think about the mind of Jesus…how can we be like him?
Spent some time doing some work around the house today…and taking some pictures.
Took a trip to the grocery store before dark and saw the moon.
It feels good to work and not think so much. Although one of these days I’m going to write my thoughts on the progression of my spiritual life and thoughts.
|Jim on May 9, 2019|
|Bart on May 9, 2019|
|Jim on March 2, 2019|
|Bart on March 2, 2019|
|site on January 14, 2018|