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Thursday, October 22, 2009

No one wants to sit beside someone who is sick...

"Being unwanted, unloved, uncared for, forgotten by everybody, I think that is a much greater hunger, a much greater poverty than the person who has nothing to eat."- Mother Teresa

No one wants to sit beside someone who is sick. Today I was at the doctor's office (well, one of them) for the 3rd time. Everytime I've been this week they've requested that I wear a mask which is exactly why no one wants to sit beside me- maybe also because of the sneezing or coughing, who knows!
I found it quite amusing to watch as people would enter the doctors office, take one look at me in my mask and strategically place themselves as far away as possible. One man even squeezed himself in a coat rack just so that he wouldn't have to take the only available seat left beside yours truly.
Now, I was able to laugh this incident off because I know I will get over this terrible cold and be right as rain soon enough, but it got me thinking. What about people who have to spend their whole lives dealing with this kind of treatment? How do they manage? Is it as easy for them to laugh it off?
I suppose in our society anything that isn't normal is something too far out of our comfort zone. Anything that doesn't look, sound, smell, or act just a certain way merits our distaste and disrespect.
Why is it then that amputees are respected due to their loss of limbs in battle, or scream-o music so highly revered, or stinky athletes worshipped after a game, or a comedian who say things a little bit differently then the rest of us for a laugh- why are they any different then the disfigured, the deaf, the homeless, or any other 'outsider' for that matter? They are of a higher position because wehave decided that they are different.
Isn't that sad? Doesn't that make you wonder how many people must go through life without being touch, hugged, LOVED?
In a past blog I talked about a couple I met in New Brunswick this summer. I won't name them for privacy's sake so I will call them Mr. and Mrs. Awesome. Mrs. Awesome has the biggest most loving heart. I remember leaving the downtown homeless storehouse and talking with her. We had had a wonderful time learning how to play crib with some of the men. She started telling me of this one man that played crib with her who was probably the worst smelling individual there. What struck me was not the fact that he smelled but that she played with him for hours. She was bothered by the smell but she didn't let it get in the way of loving him.
We often ask God to get rid of those things that hinder us from loving one another. Sometimes those things aren't spiritual, emotion or even mental- they are physical hindrances.
The reason that the warrior, the scream-o band, the athlete and the comedian are so easily respected is because it is easy to find out what they've done to earn that respect. Maybe then we should look a little harder to those who may not have their badges outside of themselves. Their badges could be covered with 'non-normal' attire, but their respect is no less warranted.

Note: This is by no means a way to discredit those who've done respectful things whether you are in the army, a band, a sports team, or on stage. I was just using these analogies to make a point!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Blessings vs. Trials

Last night I was at a friends house for dinner and a very interesting discussion emerged on blessings and trials. It was getting particularly deep when one person turned to myself and another and said "So, are you telling me that you think that God gives you more than you can handle?"
Both the other individual and I said in unison- YES!
I think that this is something that is particularly confusing to Christians. It was clarified that God will never give you trials that you cannot handle; He will, however, give you blessings that you are not able to handle.
When God blesses he does it in a way that only shows his glory. That is why the commonly used thought, that is you let God take over he'll bless you beyond what you can even comprehend, fits so well.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Over the past year or so I've struggled off and on in the area regarding finances. I would often find my thoughts jogging back and forth between whether I agreed more so with Christian prosperity or Christ-like abandonment of money hoarding. (note: this is putting is drastically, but you get my point)I've known for quite some time that my line of work will mean that money will certainly not grow on trees.
Last week one of my friends on facebook sent out a question about Christians and finances and it sparked a lost fear I had not known about until now. I had always held onto the idea that is was okay for me to have more than enough since I would be able to provide down the road to whoever would need it.
I guess when it boils down to it, those thoughts I held so dearly to required my own control, and not God's. It was something that I could plan for. I'd created an earthly treasure of sorts, in my mind, for the future. I lacked the one thing that trumps this whole thought-process- faith!
A friend gave me a wonderful book to read and it has revolutionized the way I see many things- money included. The book is called Turnings and is written by Guy Chevreau. I would recommend it to anyone who would stop and listen to me for half a second.
He says " Kingdom obedience leads finances. So much is compromised when it is the other way around."
Having faith and finances means that God expects you to be a good steward of money. Chevreau also says this. " God will not trust you with Kingdom power and authority until you've proved faithful with something as insignificant as money, for the eternal consequences of squandering Kingdom authority are far greater than misleading earthly riches."
Paraphrased, have faith that God will provide what is needed if you are willing to be good stewards of what is blessed to you, for the Kingdom of God!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Choice Thanksgiving

Today at church we had a guest speaker who spoke very well on the season of Thanksgiving. I am going to use some of her own thoughts and expand on them with my own.
She used 2 passages. Psalm 22 and Job Chapter 23. At first I was a bit taken aback by the solemnness and sorrowful nature of these passages. Then I understood where she was going with it.
Holiday seasons for the majority of the world are painful experiences, whether it is facing that family we dread, missing a person whose presence isn't there for whatever reason, or remember what used to be. It is easy to be thankful when everything is that 'hallmark' picture of family and friends. It isn't so easy when life is upside down.
Job was a man who lost everything. He lost his children (10 in total) and all of his worldly possessions. Then, to top it all off his health fails him. Job has nothing.
In all intents and purposes, Job has every reason to blame God and accuse him of the pain he feels. Instead, Job says this "Naked I came from my mother's womb,and naked I will depart. The LORD gave and the LORD has taken away; may the name of the LORD be praised." (Job 1:21)
David was a tortured man through much of his life. He made staggeringly poor choices whose repercussions lasted generations. Although the feeling of his writing is a cry out to a God whom he thinks has abandoned him, he does 2 things. 1) He starts to remember that God has restored everyone else in their weakness. In realizing this he then 2) Gives THANKS to God by offering his praise of those blessings.
The reality of this Thanksgiving weekend may not be what is desired but the point I want to make is that Thanksgiving, like so much of our faith in God, is a choice. Sometimes it is a feeling, but when the focus is placed on making it a choice then, regardless of the situation, God is our strong fortress and sustainer. Even when we can't see it, God will bless through the rain and the storms of life. Just keep turning to him!
This thanksgiving dinner is most likely the last time that my family and I will be all together before I head overseas. Thanks be to God that I have this weekend. It is a bittersweet day but also one to remember!
Happy Choice Day everyone!