Monday Meditation 012: More than Words

more than words

“I have long since come to believe that people never mean half of what they say, and that it is best to disregard their talk and judge only their actions.”  ~ Dorothy Day

Actions speak louder than words.

I’ve learned this in my personal and work life.  The people I count on are not the ones who tell me what they can or will do, but the ones who actually do it.

We all learn to count on those who consistently follow through.

I’m sorry if this doesn’t sound very spiritual, though I’m sure there are spiritual applications.

In reality, when some people are faced with self-sacrifice in order to serve someone else, they choose themselves, letting the other person down.

I’ve learned in life to adopt a wait-and-see attitude when folks tell me their great plans for something.  Of course, I’m hopeful that these things will actually pan out, but many times it is just talk.

And here’s a spiritual application: God’s dreams aren’t fulfilled, His house isn’t built, just by talking about it.  At some point, we have to give up our time, our comfort, or whatever, and give ourselves over to spending time with and developing relationships with the Lord’s people and with Jesus Christ Himself.

The Apostle James said that faith without works is dead (James 2:14-26).

It is not meant to be all talk.  The Lord’s life leads us to action – to act on behalf of the good of others.

Please know that I don’t want to make anyone feel guilty – but following Christ will tend to take us out of our comfort zone if we allow it.

As we enter the Christmas season, we also remember and celebrate God’s defining action on our behalf – coming to us as a human being to define and express an invisible, misunderstood God. 

Follow the Life!

Photo Credit

Reflecting on the Lord’s Prayer

Lord's Prayer

Credit: Flickr user lel4nd (CC)

In the past I’ve recited the Lord’s Prayer more times than I can count, but it wasn’t until recently that I really stopped to reflect on what Jesus says in this prayer.

The group I meet with has been sharing about the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6 and Luke 11.  In Matthew, Jesus is teaching the crowd in His famous Sermon on the Mount.  In Luke’s account, the disciples are watching and listening to Jesus pray, and they ask Him, “teach us how to pray”.

In either case, Jesus responds with a very simple prayer:

Our Father in heaven,
may your name be kept holy.
May your Kingdom come soon.
May your will be done on earth,
as it is in heaven.
Give us today the food we need,
and forgive us our sins,
as we have forgiven those who sin against us.
And don’t let us yield to temptation,
but rescue us from the evil one.

(Matthew 6:9-13 NLT)

Jesus says a lot in these few words.  For example, “Our Father” invites the disciples to participate in the Divine Family.  Jesus has a relationship with His Father that He has come to share with us.  Not only that, but Our Father is “in heaven”.  We share in a relationship with a Father in a heavenly realm.  If you look for it in the Gospels, you will find that Jesus emphasizes the goodness of our Father in heaven.

As I continued to reflect on this short prayer, I paraphrased it into my own wording:

Our true Father, who is not from this world, but is from Heaven

Help us live in Your Son, so that Your name is honored

Let your loving mercy expand and fill the earth

So that your ways are known to all in this world

Just as your ways are known in the Heavens

Give us the bread we need to survive today

And don’t let us forget that Jesus is our Real Bread

Open Your heart of forgiveness to us if we hurt You

Just as we open our hearts and forgive those that hurt us

Help us to faithfully live by Jesus’ life in us

And through Him resist the evil of this world

Our Father is the real King of the cosmos

The power of Your love is greater than any other

You are beautiful beyond description

Now and for all eternity

Amen

What other things do you see in the Lord’s Prayer?

 

Follow the Life!

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I’m Still Here!

stress busy

Credit: Flickr user oliveira_comp (CC)

Just a note today to let you know that I’m still here, and will be continuing to blog as soon as possible.

My family has had a lot of things happening since mid-January.  We’ve had a funeral, a birth, emergency medical issues, kids in new sports, dance competitions, out of town guests, all on top of our usual schedule.

All of this has left me with zero time to continue on the articles I was working on.

Here are a few things that are in the queue to be finished:

  • Part 2: Christian Communities with No Hierarchy or Exclusive Leadership Do Exist and are Possible
  • Jesus Didn’t Tell Mary to Get in the Kitchen
  • Obstacles in Community Life

I’m not sure exactly when I will be completing these as well as other articles, but stay tuned!

Follow the Life!

 

Pure Love Heals: Frozen Alternate Ending

A bit of humor this morning…

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An Encouragement to Those Doing the Lord’s Work

IMG_0925Watchman Nee (1903-1972) was a Chinese Christian who served the Lord widely in China, often at great personal cost.  He was wrongly imprisoned later in his life because the government considered him to be the leader of many Christians and a threat to the Chinese rulers.  Nee served the Lord in China most of his life, while giving little consideration to his own comfort or reputation.  He died in a remote farm prison after serving twenty years of hard labor and being almost completely cut off from his wife and family.  After this time he was frail and sick, and was eventually transported over rough Chinese terrain to a hospital.  It is believed that he died during this trip due to its severity on his weak body.

Nee never gave up his faith, though.  His possessions from prison, including additional writings and diaries, were not turned over to his family.  They were only given his old coat, worn from many beatings.  Inside, hidden in the lining, they found a scrap of paper inscribed with these words, “Only God is ever living – only God is everlasting.”

Watchman Nee has written many books that have been translated into English.  Many of his spoken messages have also been transcribed and released as books.  While he was certainly not perfect, his contribution to Christians world wide is immense.

Angus Kinnear brilliantly captures the life of Watchman Nee in his biography Against the Tide: The Unforgettable Story Behind Watchman Nee.  In this book, there is a section about Nee’s thoughts about “how God might more widely win to himself the people of China”.  Nee was interested in how God might raise up those who could minister among the Lord’s people to develop local assemblies throughout China.

Developing this thought further, he pointed next to an item in the ark’s contents, namely Aaron’s rod that had once budded.  It had been set there as a memorial of a historic occasion: a dark night and a resurrection morning.  He believed this hinted at God’s one sure way of fruitfulness for every servant of his.  We do not accomplish God’s work merely by yielding to the appeal of open doors and great opportunities.  There is sometimes also a darkness to be endured with patience for the sake of a new dawn.  When that dawn breaks God will disclose buds and flowers beyond man’s power to produce.  In the case of our Lord Jesus that resurrection life blossomed and fruited in its fullest sense when he pleased his Father by assenting to endure, with heaven closed above him, the darkness and death of the cross.  “The Son of Man must suffer,” he had said.  While in such experiences the disciple follows his Master only at a distance, yet “the servant is in no way greater than his Lord.”

The death of ourselves (what Paul called “the old man” or the “flesh”) is usually quite painful; however, in Christ there is always a resurrection on the other side.  This is what is represented by Aaron’s dead staff that God caused to bloom new flowers (see Numbers 17).

While this principle is true for all Christians, my thoughts in this post are primarily aimed at those who are called to the work of giving up themselves completely to serve God’s people.  The cross they bear for the Lord’s sake, for the Lord’s spiritual house (that is the church, His living body, not a physical building) can certainly be overwhelming at times.  Thankfully, we always have the promise of the NEW life, fruit, and light on the other side of death.

To those of you laboring faithfully for the Lord, you have my utmost respect.

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2013

Wow.  It is really 2013.  Time seems to keep moving faster and faster…

I’ve thought about what I want to accomplish in 2013, and one big thing I would like to improve is discipline.  As time continues to accelerate, I’m finding I have to be pretty intentional with mine.  I’ve also found that I don’t have much discipline these days.  A lot of that comes from raising a family, which doesn’t leave much time left anyway.  But my kids are little older now and I’m finding that I have a little more free time, enough to actually think about managing it.

So, I’m hoping to develop some discipline this year, especially in the area of pursuing Christ, and I’m hoping to share more through the blog.  Which was my intention last year, but, well, I didn’t have any… yep you guessed it, discipline.

My goal is to post more consistently through the year.  And I’ve given the blog a slight makeover to help encourage me.

I’m working on a series of interviews with various saints around the country who are meeting and living in first century style churches (hopefully that will be coming soon).  And I have several ideas and articles already started.

We’ll see how it goes!

 

How Lord of the Rings Should Have Ended…

HISHE.  How It Should Have Ended.  You have probably seen these videos on youtube or other websites.  There are tons of them for lots of popular movies.  Some are really funny and clever.  Others, well… not so much.

This however, is one of my favorites.  Not only is it funny, it reminds me of how complicated we can make things that often have a much simpler solution.

Click here to enjoy…