Sunday, May 15, 2016

Cornerstone

OK, I don't usually weigh in on controversial topics, but I have an opinion. Feel free to stop right here and move on if you don't want to read it. There are a ton of issues right now in our Country that go against everything we believe as Christians, but I think we're trying to fix them in the wrong way. The only way we're going to effectively change a crumbling government, a cracked morality, is to build up the foundation on which it stands. While Jesus walked on earth, He didn't spend His time walking around in front of Caesar's house with a sign. He didn't shout about how terrible the Romans were. He started at the core of the problem, the people. He was a carpenter's son, by the way, so I'm pretty sure he knew a little about buildings. He went to the most tumbled down part of the foundation and He started to build it up. He went to the lepers, who had their own little encampment of sorry selves, and plopped Himself in the middle of it. He sat Himself between the prostitute and the angry crowd. He went TO the woman at the well. So, here's my suggestion, find someone today you wouldn't normally go TO, or defend, or sit with, and do just that. Someone took the time to do that for me, or I wouldn't be writing this post. If you want to change the top, you have to start at the bottom, otherwise your building is going to keep swaying until it falls over in a heap. Ephesians 2:21 "In Him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in Him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit." Take a few minutes to read the whole chapter, it was too long to copy and paste. smile emoticon

Sunday, May 1, 2016

After The Rain

I spend time sitting with families who are suffering, and the one question I always hear is "why". "Why me?". "Why us?". "Why not them?". It is a reasonable question in the midst of pain. That depth of wondering if somehow we have earned grief, or been randomly chosen to endure tragedy. I have been there, sitting in the dark, asking, looking for answers in the silence, pouring words out in tears.
It is in the backward glance that that suffering takes on new meaning. Somehow, that seed of affliction that we can not bear comes to rest in our heart's soil. We can not see it, most times we don't recognize that it even existed until it bursts forth. Days, months, years into the future it takes root, and something grows. Empathy, joy, purpose. Or, perhaps, bitterness and anger. What have we allowed our heart to become in this adversity? Nurturing soil, or cold stone?
With that "looking back" on times of hardship, I've found that the question should not be "why?", but "what?". What will this suffering produce in me? What will it produce for others? What will I do with it? What gives honor to that which was lost, and purpose to the pain? When we focus on the "what" instead of the "why", we move our mindset from blame (guilt, fault, responsibility) to bolster (strengthen, boost, fortify, renew).  
Grief is important, it gives time for our tears to soak our heart's garden, but it is not meant to be forever. A time is coming, after the rain.

Hebrews 10:23
 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.

...we know that suffering produces perseverance; 4 perseverance, character; and character, hope.  Romans 5: 3,4