Look at the things that you are seeking first–what do you care most about?–and go to the bottom line: How lasting are they? How permanent? Can you depend on them?
And when we answer that question, we come to the conclusion that the only thing worth pursuing is not popularity (what people say and think about us) because we know that changes. And it’s not money because we know that goes away and we always want and need more. And we know that it’s not some kind of physical pleasure because that only lasts for a moment and usually leaves us with more regret than before…
The truth is we are all going headlong after something. We’re really intensely pursuing, seeking, worried about something…What is it we are so passionate about? …
Let’s passionately pursue God. Let’s seek Him first. Let’s give Him all the zeal that we give our sports team, and let’s give Him all the love that we give our families, and let’s give Him all the time that we give our stuff. Let’s let God have it all. ‘Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness.‘
After gathering carrots from the garden one rainy August day, I placed them under cool running water in the kitchen sink and began to scrub them clean with my old, stiff veggie brush. A thought occurred to me in that moment…
Have you ever paid attention to how all the carrots in the grocery store look so long, straight, and perfect? That’s not the way they all look when they are harvested.
When I pull them up in my garden, they all look unique: different sizes, different shapes, different colors.
I’m sure this happens with part of the carrots in commercial farms. We just never see the unusual ones because, even though they taste exactly the same, the imperfectly-shaped carrots are rejected from grocery shipments and are ground into pet foods or used for other purposes. Either that, or they are trimmed into matching shapes and sizes to be sold as “baby-cut carrots.”
I realized then that the uniqueness of carrots could be applied to people, as well.
Society may use advertising and peer pressure to try to convince us to strive for a certain ideal in our appearance or lifestyle — to fit the mold of what is considered “normal” or “perfect.” Yet, the reality is that we are all unique in our appearance, physically and socially.
Unlike the misshapen carrots, we must never reject people that don’t fit our ideal of physical or social perfection; and we must never try to force them into matching our personal standards.
If we do not all look like Ken and Barbie dolls with the perfect figure and features, perfect skin and hair, perfect height and weight, perfect speech and mannerisms, perfect wealth and status, it doesn’t matter because the reality is that on the inside…
we all taste the same.
Oh, wait…maybe I’m mixing my metaphors…but you get the point, right?
One of the scribes … asked him, “Which commandment is the most important of all?”
Jesus answered, “The most important is, ‘Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength.’ The second is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ There is no other commandment greater than these.“
Do you see what I mean? The scripture says “love your neighbor as yourself,” not “make your neighbor into yourself.”
Thanks for reading, and have a great day! Now get out there and show some love!
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Let brotherly love continue.
My little children, let us not love in word, neither in tongue; but in deed and in truth.
~1 John 3:18
Beloved, let us love one another: for love is of God; and every one who loves is born of God, and knows God.
~1 John 4:7
Yes, I know, that’s a strange title for a blog post. It is an oxymoron that has been on my mind of late, as I have attended several funerals recently with family and friends.
King Solomon stated in the book of Ecclesiastes that “it is better to go to the house of mourning than to go to the house of feasting…” But how could that be possible? Who wants to sit around and pout when they could party, instead?
I’ve been thinking a lot lately of loved ones who have passed away and about friends who have moved out of state that I no longer get to see frequently. Sadness and mourning fill my heart at these times, so how could that make me happy?
Look at the rest of the scripture to understand the answer:
It’s easy to float through life when things are going smoothly or when you are busy with schedules and/or physical possessions. Loss and tragedy can make you pause long enough to re-evaluate your life.
Sitting in the crowd during a funeral service, it’s hard not to think that some day I will be the one lying in the box. It helps me think about and take stock of my life:
- Why am I here?
- What is my purpose in life?
- What have I contributed to this world that’s of any value?
- How many days to I have left on this earth, and am I using them well?
Such sobering thoughts help me organize my priorities and live more conscientiously. This pause for thoughtful self-evaluation is how mourning can lead to a joyous lifestyle and help you develop a meaningful, peaceful life.
When I slow down to examine my life and look around this world, I see the patterns, the complexity, the balance…I see the hand of the Creator.
When I seek His truths in His Word, I find a pattern of living based on relationships, love, and unselfishness. Walking in His footsteps, I make choices that lead my life down a wonderful path which grows brighter every day.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
One last thought: “We’re all in this together,” as they say, so I encourage you today to pay extra attention to those around you and support them. Whether you feel like laughing or crying at the moment, “this, too, shall pass;” and like it or not, we need each other.
Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.
Have you ever been upset about a situation and had someone come up to you and say “Oh, don’t get all bent out of joint over it”? Maybe not. It’s a phrase I haven’t really heard since I was a child.
Well, yesterday I was literally “bent out of joint”! At least, I think my toe was…
Have you thought about how fragile we are? While I was processing a deer with my family in the fall, I shuddered when I thought about how my bones, tendons, and muscles were no stronger than those we were quickly cutting into steaks and roasts. I’m frequently reminded of my frailty because I bruise so easily — and because of the aches and pains I wake to more often these days.
How often do you feel grateful for your health? Even if some parts of your body aren’t working so well, other parts are. If nothing else, your brain is functioning well enough to read and understand a blog! There are always aspects of health for which to be thankful.
That brings me back to my toe. Yesterday when I awoke, the “pinkie” toe on my right foot was in terrible pain.
[To save your valuable time, I’ll fast-forward to the end of the story:]
We had plans for that evening (which I almost skipped), and my daughter and I decided to go out to eat first. As I hobbled around the house getting ready and debating out loud whether we should go at all, my daughter shook her head and laughed, “All this over a little baby toe?!”
He laughter abruptly stopped when she witnessed my inability to brake the car quickly (the fact that I was moaning out loud probably added to the effect). I almost overshot the entrance to the restaurant, which was flanked on both sides by a narrow, deep ditch.
When she gave thanks before our meal, she included “and please keep us safe tonight and help us to get back home safely.” This took me by surprise and elicited a snort of laughter that turned a few heads at the next table. A little pinkie toe had my child fearing for her life! Lol
We safely arrived back home that night, though pains were still shooting in my foot as I got out of the car. When I stepped into the house, however, 90% of the pain suddenly vanished! I was confused but very thankful that it felt much better for the rest of the evening.
This morning, I stretched slowly as I came out of sleep, but stopped short due to a jolt of pain. My toe was hooked on the edge of a small fleece blanket I keep in the bed because I get so cold in the winter. Aha, mystery solved! I must have done the same thing the day before and popped my toe out of joint. It must have popped back into place that evening, perhaps due to the sock or shoe I wore?
The bible compares the church to a body and describes how each small part (each tiny toe!) contributes to the whole body. If one part is “out of joint,” the whole body is affected.
Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.
~ Ephesians 5:23
For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ.
The eye cannot say to the hand, “I have no need of you,” nor again the head to the feet, “I have no need of you.” On the contrary, the parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable…
God has so composed the body, giving greater honor to the part that lacked it, that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together.
~ 1 Corinthians 12:12, 21-26,
The scriptures also compare Christ’s body (the church) to being a family, with God as the Father.
See what kind of love the Father has given to us, that we should be called children of God; and so we are.
~ 1 John 3:1
The truth I’ve been reminded of this week, by my painful little toe, is that everyone is important and valuable. Another person’s joy or grief should touch me personally, as we go along life’s path together.
Whether you are spending this holiday season with physical family or spiritual family (church members/friends/loved-ones), I hope you will treat each person around you with respect and love and that they will do the same in return.
Wishing you happy holidays and a bright new year,
Do you ever wish you had a “do-over” or “reboot” button for life?
Maybe you see the attainment of your goals sitting just beyond your grasp and leaving you miserably unsatisfied…
Maybe certain choices you’ve made appeared to lead to happiness and fulfillment until you got farther down the path and realized that you are headed in the wrong direction…
Maybe you’ve accomplished some of your goals, but you still feel like life just stinks…
Maybe…if you watch the following video, you will find solutions to some all-too-common problems that are sucking the joy from your life or the lives of those you care about.
I hope you WILL find time to watch it, and that it will be a huge blessing in your life!
If you’d like to hear more information on similar themes, please click over to a previous post called “Being Complete.” Thanks for stopping by, and have a great day!
Autumn is here and the days are spinning by so quickly I cannot keep up! I sometimes wish there were more hours in the day. Even if there were, I suppose they would quickly fill up with activities, and I’d still be in the same situation. Maybe I would at least find time to do some blogging. 🙂 Somebody please slow down this ride!
Come now, you who say, “Today or tomorrow we will go into such and such a town and spend a year there and trade and make a profit” — yet you do not know what tomorrow will bring. What is your life? For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes. Instead you ought to say, “If the Lord wills, we will live and do this or that.”