Monday, September 29, 2014

The World Or Your Soul
In life we sometimes want so much around us, our family, friends, and even people we are aware of that we have gotten to know through observation be it via television, movies, other friends or some other form. This really hit home, especially recently with the suicide of Robin Williams. As with many others around the world, many grieved at his death. It became even more complicated when I saw others with little or no understanding of mental illness and specifically major depression either making fun of or making light of his death. Despite these people, we saw attention brought to the subjects of suicide, major depression and even Parkinson's. All this from the likes of the regular Jane or Joe, foreign dignitaries, members of the Armed Services, and even the President of the United States. This recognition not typical but is an example of how others, even those we don't know can be touched from someone else.

Through this observation and others I have been reminded, why don't some do more to help themselves, after all, many of us care about them and want to see them improve their situations. I want them to improve their lives, potential and ultimately their hope. For me, I firmly believe that without Jesus, there is little if any real hope possibilities. Others may say they believe that but unfortunately their actions don't always show it. It is unfortunate but I think that for some, their actions show they are either afraid of the possibilities or are satisfied with where they are, even if those who really know them, know can see the possibilities and know what is best. It like a parent who has lived their life but realizes they can't live through or for their children, even when they know what is best.
A question for me is, why? The answer is quite simple, either one surrenders to Jesus or they don't. I see many who call themselves Christians or Followers of Jesus who don't take the commitment to Jesus seriously. It is sadder in some ways when others condone this lack of commitment. It is unfortunate but few really desire to be like Jesus. I am not trying to engage in the condemnation thing, I am talking about having an "I love you so much I want what is best for you," attitude. One that sacrificially gives out of love to another. This brings forth another question: Do we love others so much that we grieve when they don't want the best for themselves?

There are hurting people all around us who make poor decisions, sometimes decisions that cost them their lives. Do we evaluate what we can do, how we can share a message of hope, salvation and opportunity, or are we satisfied with doing just enough to keep ourselves feeling good about doing something for someone else?

In the Bible there is this incredible concept called "Incarnation." It is as simple as this, Jesus was with God from the beginning of time. He had it all in Heaven, yet, He loved us so much that he decided to leave Heaven to come to earth, to be born in a feeding troth, (we normally use the nice word, stable) to two poor parents, his mother Mary, and adopted father, a carpenter, Joseph. He willingly did this because He loves us and wanted more for us. I don't know if you have been on a farm but the feeding troth, the stables do not have the best smell or conditions but this is Jesus first on earth and even then, as a baby.  He was known for much of his life as Jesus of Nazareth, due to where he grew up. Others were familiar with him, knew him. Jesus chose to incarnate so we could better understand him and in return we also know, He understands us. 

Incarnation is a concept I have valued and studied for some years. It is one of the reasons I chose to give up a salary, to live among and with the people God has called me to minister to. I challenge that when one incarnates to the level and place God has called them, they will have a love, a passion, a seriousness about loving and serving God has called them to. They will experience joy but also grief and sadness. It is important in these extremes that we keep our focus and purpose on Jesus. If is from incarnation that people ultimately see the potential in themselves. When we love to the extreme many will see the potential and possibilities in their own lives. It doesn't change the hurt for us when one slips through the cracks or ultimately, even worse, goes their own way and knowingly walks away from God.
Ultimately, for ourselves and others we must understand that while we are responsible for our actions, we are our brothers keeper and are called to help each other out. We love as best as we can. We joy when they joy, we grieve when they grieve, we are happy when they make the right decisions, we hurt when they make the wrong decisions but ultimately, we remember, we do our best, and each person is responsible for their own actions. While there are times when people make the right decisions and bad things still happen but that is a whole other topic for another day. 

Today I pray, may I do the best I can. May I surrender to Jesus and may those I am love and am in contact with do the same.

James 1: 21 - 27:  (21) You must stop doing anything immoral or evil. Instead be humble and accept the message that is planted in you to save you.
(22) Obey God’s message! Don’t fool yourselves by just listening to it. (23) If you hear the message and don’t obey it, you are like people who stare at themselves in a mirror (24) and forget what they look like as soon as they leave. (25) But you must never stop looking at the perfect law that sets you free. God will bless you in everything you do, if you listen and obey, and don’t just hear and forget.

(26) If you think you are being religious, but can’t control your tongue, you are fooling yourself, and everything you do is useless. (27) Religion that pleases God the Father must be pure and spotless. You must help needy orphans and widows and not let this world make you evil.  

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