If I don’t have a realistic view of my gifts and talents, I won’t be able to develop them appropriately, and will fall short of the best I could be. Perhaps I will have missed God’s best plan for me.
Archive for the ‘Commentary’ Category
Life is not about me. It’s about God’s plan and my part in it. I may not understand God’s plan, I may be dimly aware of it, but I need to trust in it, or more precisely, to trust in the One who has a plan for me. And not only for me, but for every person on this planet.
Lord, may I be in harmony with your plan.
No matter who you are, God loves you.
No matter what mistakes you’ve made, God loves you.
No matter what you’ve failed in, God still believes in you.
If you think you’re a mess, if others think you’re a mess,
God sees the best in you; He see what you can become.
Never give up; turn to God.
Become His child and let Him love you.
Someday, we might be able to see all our hurts, sufferings, and traumas
as TRANSFORMED miraculously into good,
if by God’s grace we’ve allowed Him to use these to bring us closer to Him.
This just in:
Many of us are scared little children running around in adult bodies. The sooner we can recognize this, the better.
My friend Will Duquette has written a fun, frolicking, time-travel fantasy novel entitled Vikings at Dino’s: A Novel of Lunch and Mayhem. The hero, a small man for his age, endures encounters with Vikings, ancient Romans, and Mongols, all within his own little American town of Corey’s End. Or are these invaders really who they seem to be? And the poor man never seems to be able to eat his lunch in peace.
There’s danger, adventure, romance, and a thread of humor throughout the hero’s first person narrative. What more could you ask for? The violence, barely hinted at (no gory details), is of the comic-book type, mainly there to create the conflict and challenges for the hero.
Did I mention that the hero is a software engineer? Computer geeks and other assorted nerds should have no trouble relating to this story. This includes my husband and 23-year-old son, who both enjoyed the novel. (They might object to my classification of them, though.)
Perhaps my only quibble with the book is that the author makes the Roman types seem nicer than what I know of ancient Romans; for example, they perfected the practice of crucifixion (although it seems to have begun with the ancient Persians).
At any rate, when you’re small for your age … anything can happen. Well worth the read.
The Parable of the Barren Fig Tree
In 2006, my family moved to a single-family house from a townhouse. One of our reasons for moving was to have a bigger garden (the townhouse garden was very small).
The new garden included a fig tree. That first summer, there was no fruit on it. I would prune it from time to time (perhaps improperly), but year after year, there was no fruit.
Last year, there were a few fruits on the tree. I was amazed! I had decided, over the years, that we had an ornamental fig (those do not bear fruit).
This year, perhaps with a warmer winter and abundant rain, it is producing many fruits! Now I want to learn the proper way of pruning and fertilizing it. There are ways to prune the tree to select the best branches for bearing fruit.
There are many lessons to learn from this:
1) Proper pruning is important: Could this mean that sometimes the discipline or correction we receive from others could be misdirected or misapplied. I don’t question that we need discipline, but it’s something to ponder. We can pray that damage done to us will be healed. Or, we may have not received much pruning/discipline in life. That usually results in a much-reduced amount of fruit.
2) Patience is important: Like the fig tree in Scripture, we may need to wait a long time for something to bear fruit.
3) Given all else, perhaps the conditions or timing are just not right: “The wind blows where it chooses, and you hear the sound of it, but you do not know where it comes from or where it goes. So it is with everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John 3:8). Do we need to put ourselves (or allow God to put us) in conditions where we can blossom and bear fruit? In the natural world, some seeds grow only if they are first burned, frozen, or scarified (cut). Do we allow our sufferings to bring forth new life in us?
[To tell the truth, I wrote this out of the frustration of feeling that I’m
a “nobody”. So maybe my motives aren’t too pure. But, anyway …]
THE QUIET ONES: Don’t Ridicule Yourself
I am grateful for all the people, famous or not, who have influenced me for the better. Some are famous authors, speakers, etc., and many or most are Christian. Some are well-known within certain circles. Many of them, whom I might not know personally, have exhorted, pushed and prodded me to desire and reach for a holier and more God-honoring life. They are an essential part of the body of Christ.
But today I would like to write about what I call “The Quiet Ones”. They are not “leaders” in the strict sense of the word. They haven’t written books that thousands read. They don’t address large audiences. They might not, like Paul of Tarsus or Mother Teresa, be very well known. But nevertheless, they can have a huge influence.
I am thinking, in particular, of Mary, the mother of Jesus. Hardly anything is known about her. Very few words of hers are recorded. As far as we know, she was not followed by huge crowds. Yet, I think, most Christians would agree that her influence on the world was tremendous, because she allowed Jesus to live in her, both physically and spiritually.
Her life was on one of total submission to God and total humility. I believe that it’s because of her humility, her “nobodyness” in the world’s eyes (but submitted to God), that He chose her to be Jesus’ mother.
The things we do know about her show her deep humility. “Let it be done unto me” was her “Yes” to God. While it was certainly an intense joy to know she would be the Savior’s mother, think also of the courage and faith she had to have, to face the ridicule of an “unplanned pregnancy”. She could have been stoned to death. We could also probably write volumes about her husband, Joseph, another “Quiet One”.
Think of her praises to God, in the company of her relative Elizabeth. To praise God in such a situation, facing ridicule and social ostracism, she had to focus on the glorious reality of what God was doing in her.
Think of how she pointed to Jesus: “Do whatever He tells you”, which I believe as His first disciple, she herself practiced.
And think of how she stood by Jesus’ side, not only as He suffered excruciating physical pain, but the emotional pain of scorn and ridicule, and feeling abandoned by God. And of course, her unspeakable joy when He rose from the dead …
Yes, I am very grateful for all the “leaders” in my life, who have pushed me to grow and stretch for God’s kingdom. It takes great courage to put oneself in the public eye.
But please, if you are a “Quiet One”, don’t disparage yourself. You may be having a greater influence than you know.
Once I was watching a documentary about the Nuremberg Trials (in which prominent Nazis were on trial for World War II war crimes). A Jewish man who was present related how he suddenly fainted during the testimony of one of the accused. When asked why he fainted, he said, “Suddenly I realized that I, too, was capable of the same horrible actions.”
We ALL need forgiveness. We cannot do any good without God’s help.
“For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard.” (Romans 3:23)