Archive for the ‘Bible’ Tag

A Valuable Person   Leave a comment


Vulcan (Star Trek)

Vulcan (Star Trek) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

During my devotional time this morning, I was struck by how much emphasis Jesus puts on the value of one person (See Luke 15:1-7).  Jesus tells the people a story of a shepherd that leaves behind ninety-nine sheep in search of one lost sheep.  This seems to fly in the face of Spock‘s logic in the movie, Star Trek 2:  The Wrath of Khanwhen he states that “the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few.”

This has caused me to think about how easy it is for us to forget the importance of looking at people as a group of persons.  We so often lump people together and the only identity they have is a group identity.  An example is how we lump people of the same ethnicity, or same social status, or same financial status.  We make judgments and statements in regards to the group and assume that everyone in that group fits into what our understanding of a group as a whole.  We lose the value of the person.

Today’s passage from the Bible reminded me of the value of each person.  It also reminded me of my own value as an individual.  There is not a person that does not have value.  The choices that each person makes can impact how the person is treated and how the person interacts within society, however, the person still has value.

I am going to try to strive today and in the future to look at the value of the person.  I am going to try to avoid making judgments regarding a person based on what group which she/he might be associated.  I am going to strive to remind others that they have value.  I am going to strive to remember that I have value.

Who will join me?

Removing the Plank   Leave a comment


English: human eye

English: human eye (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A conversation that I had with a friend this morning caused me to think of this passage from the Bible:

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:3-5, NIV)

How easy it is for us to make statements regarding the behaviors of others.  We forget that we look at only the surface.  Many times we forget details that we know about the person.  We are not privy to conversations and situations in the person’s life.  Yet we often feel we can pass judgment on the person.

Jesus reminds those around him how big of a problem this can be for us.  He reminds them that we all have issues that we have to deal with and situations that impact our actions.  Many times we act superior to others and fail to remember that we have shortcomings.  Other times we do not have all the background and information that would lead us to making an informed judgment.

For me, this is a reminder of how important it is to see a person as a person and not an object.  The only way that this differentiation can occur is if I am in relationship with someone.  Even if I am in relationship, I still may not know enough to make a judgment regarding their actions or words.  I am also reminded that life is a journey that I can walk with others but must remember that I carry my own baggage and my own issues as much as the person who I am walking with carries.

So I am reminded today to remove my planks, only then can I be helpful to the sojourners in my life.

Limits   2 comments


Fence

Fence (Photo credit: Mariia Kravtsova I EamArt)

What limits me?  Today, this is a question that is rattling around in my mind.  I have been looking at a passage from the Bible this week that talks about our freedom in Christ.  (See Colossians 2:6-15)  This has caused me to consider what I have allowed to limit my freedom.  Another way of considering this might be, what holds me back?

I think lots of times societal pressures, peer pressure, and religious pressure limit us from becoming who we have the potential to be. Perceptions and understandings have a huge impact on shaping who a person becomes and how the individual lives life.  Sometimes those perceptions and understandings are placed upon the person by others, i.e., society, friends, colleagues, family, religious leaders, and sometimes those are placed upon the person by him or herself.

The stumbling block in all this, as I see it, is that perceptions and understandings can be wrong.  We are all born with a very basic understanding of right and wrong which is the basis for our interpretation of life.  People can usually agree that murder is wrong. People often concur that stealing is wrong.  However, when we get beyond the basic right and wrongs of life, all the rest depends on interpretation and understandings.  The challenge is that those interpretations and understandings change over time.

So all of this brings me back to the question of what limits am I placing on myself or allowing others to place upon me.  Limits are a necessary part of life because they help me to stay within reasonable bounds.  However, if the limits that are in my life are based on outdated or inaccurate perceptions and understandings, then I need to be very clear about whether I should retain those limits in my life.

My question for you today is what is limiting you?  Should you continue you to allow it to limit you?  These are questions I know I will wrestle with as well.

Junk or Treasure   Leave a comment


Flag Dumpster

Flag Dumpster (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This week I rented a dumpster.  The project for the week is to clean out the basement and some of the garage.  There seems to have accumulated over twenty years of possessions down there.  So yesterday the dumpster arrived and I spent a few hours working on the new project.  As I was working away, a few thoughts came to mind:

1.  Why do we collect so many possessions?  It is truly amazing how possessions pile up.  Some of the items that I ran across were things that are no longer being used but since there wasn’t a plan to dispose of them, they ended up being taken to the basement and forgotten about.  As I was looking at the first room to be cleared out, I was reminded of many passages from the Bible:  

                      – Matthew 6:25-34  Worrying about the need for possessions.

                      – Matthew 6:19-24  Storing up treasures

                      – Matthew 19:16-24  Possessions can be a stumbling block in our faith walk

2.  What is the definition of a treasure?  It amazes me the things that I have chosen to keep over the years.  Some of those items I look at now and define as junk and can easily throw them away.  Other items I look at as something to treasure and refuse to get rid of them.  I think for me, the key is if they hold some emotional or sentimental value to me.  If there is a connection there, I keep the item.

3.  How do material items tell a story?  As I was going through items in the first room, I was amazed how by holding something a story would come to mind.  I might remember who gave the item and the reason for it being given.  I might remember where the item was purchased and what was happening at the time.  I might recall an event in life that was somehow connected to the item.  There appeared to be history that was told in some of the items that I encountered.  The stories continued or were recalled because of the item.

So while there is a very practical reason for working on this project, there is a reflective aspect that I was not expecting.  I think it is good to have those times in life when we are unexpectedly taken into reflection.  It is good to take time to clean out the store rooms which contain pieces of our past and to remember and evaluate.

While I am not looking forward to the work that lies ahead for me with this project, I am looking forward to the discoveries that occur along the way.  Who knows, my reflection may lead to more posts this week.

 

Be Still   1 comment


Storm Clouds

Storm Clouds (Photo credit: mcdett)

Today is one of those days when I recall this passage from the Bible:

He says, “Be still, and know that I am God;
    I will be exalted among the nations,
    I will be exalted in the earth.” (Psalm 46:10, NIV)

BE STILL AND KNOW THAT I AM GOD

Yesterday contained some very unexpected turns and twists for me.  I went through a large range of emotions because of a lot of events of the day.  In truth, I am a bit emotionally and spiritually exhausted this morning.  Yet what I experienced is minor compared to the experience of a dear and close friend who was directly impacted by events.

As the dark clouds and storms roll in once again today outside, I need to hear the words of the psalm writer.  I need to hear God’s voice in the thunder.  I need to be still.  I need to remember that God is God.  I need to know that God is God.

Today, I rest in the knowledge of these words and strive to be still and experience them.

Today, I remind my dear friend and her family to remember the words in this psalm.

Speak or Silence   Leave a comment


Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil

Hear no evil. Speak no evil. See no evil (Photo credit: smileham)

I think one of the challenging self-discipline skills that I face is the ability to know when to speak and when to remain silent.  Many people who know me well will say that I do a lot of speaking.  However, they do not know how much I keep silent.  I would say with that information out there, it is an ongoing struggle for me to know how to balance the speaking and silence effectively.

As a leader, it seems natural that I would do a lot of speaking.  My position and title also lends itself to the natural tendency to do a lot of speaking.  However, I am reminded of the words found in the Bible:

“All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and sea creatures are being tamed and have been tamed by mankind, but no human being can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.” (James 3:7-8, NIV)

What I say can have a tremendous impact.  The impact can either be good or can be destructive.  So I need to weigh what I say, if anything, very careful and remember the caution given to me in the Bible.

So whether to speak or to remain silent is the challenge that I put forth today.

Breaking Free From the Mundane   Leave a comment


Dragon's breath

Dragon’s breath (Photo credit: toastforbrekkie)

This morning in my reading from the Bible, I read this as part of the section I was in:

Jesus said, ‘You’re tied down to the mundane; I’m in touch with what is beyond your horizons.  You live in terms of what you see and touch.  I am living on other terms.”  (John 8:23, The Message)

I was planning on blogging today on a different topic but when I read this, I knew I had to write in response to this idea.  I think that it is very easy, and very common, for me to be too focused on the mundane.  There are various on-going tasks, various on-going responsibilities, and everyday aspects of life that continuously fill up the hours in my day.  It is easy for me to just go from one task to other, marking items off of my “to-do” list on Outlook.  At times I feel like I am a robot.  Other times, I am lulled into just the busyness of activity.

Jesus placed a challenge before me yesterday during a conversation with my mentor.  In case, I missed that challenge yesterday, Jesus spoke it to me plainly today during my morning devotional time.  I’ve been told that, “You’re tied down to the mundane.”  The challenge that I am hearing is that I need to break free from the mundane activities of life and to move toward what is beyond my horizon.  I need to break out of the ordinary and challenge myself toward the extraordinary.

I am wondering if others might hear this challenge as well.  I find that both on a personal  level and an organizational level it is very easy to spend all energy and resources on the mundane.  We ignore or dismiss the dreams and visions that are beyond our own horizons.  We stop reaching for the stars and settle for the dirt beneath our feet.  Then we wonder why we are bored, why we have a lack of energy, why nothing seems to change.

The challenge for myself, and the challenge I would extend to those who read my blog, is to break free from the mundane.  Join Jesus in being “in touch with what is beyond your horizons.”