Friday, October 23, 2015

The Skin of Jesus

"'Hear, O Israel, the Lord our God, the Lord is one. And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart,with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.' This is the first commandment.  And the second one, like it, is this: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.' There is no other commandment greater than these." Mark 12:29

In a conversation with a friend recently, she shared a profound statement someone advanced in years had relayed to her.  It was simple.  It was pure.

"I have found that only two things really matter.  That we love Jesus and that we take care of each other." 

The statement stuck.  It basically is the two commandments summarized.

Yet, in church,in life, we have so many programs and busyness grasping for our time that often these two things, the most important things according to Jesus, get pushed aside unintentionally.

Our busyness feeds ourselves until literally "our plates are full", as we so often say.  What we have left to give our neighbors is quite often crumbs to nothing at all.

I'm not here to point fingers.  I am guilty as well.

This past week, however, the Lord has been showing me the importance in this commandment.  The importance of this action.

I have been very sick.  Finally, at midweek, I was rightly diagnosed with pneumonia and possibly mono and placed on stronger antiobiotics.  I am just now beginning to feel slightly normal, but still coughing and weak.  While sick, the importance and truth of the statement above hit home.

Very often, people need not only the words of Jesus, but also the skin of Jesus.  Jesus cared for people.  Jesus stopped.  Jesus interrupted His plans to help.  Jesus loved.  Jesus loves.

In the body of Christ, we often talk about what part of the "body" we are.  Are we a mouth that speaks truth with boldness and proclaims the gospel?  Are we a foot that goes to spread the ministry of the gospel across lands?  Are we a hand that serves in the local church or at a local ministry? All of these are good and needed.  All parts are needed  (1 Cor 12:14-26).  And all the parts should care for the other parts as it says in 1 Cor 12:25-26.  No matter what our callings or giftings are, we are all called to be the skin of Jesus.

Being the skin of Jesus is acting, is going and loving and showing care to one another. It is my prayer for the Lord to help me do this, this very important commandment well.

The first step might be to get our plates not nearly as full so we have more than crumbs to give to our neighbors.  Just a thought.  For you, loving your neighbor might begin with being more present with your own family or it might mean literally getting to know a neighbor.  It could mean reaching out to a friend and seeing how they are doing (not on the surface, but really how they're doing.)

For me, I know it means being more intentional about listening to what people are going through and sincerely seeking how I can help.  Brining a meal can speaks volumes of love to someone hurting or sick.  Texting a friend to say, "I love you and I'm praying for you" can be a powerful testimony of Christ's love.  We just need each other.  My friend's friend rephrased the two commandments so simply...

"I have found that only two things really matter.  That we love Jesus and that we take care of each other." 

This really sums up all that matters.  How can you be the skin of Jesus to someone today?

Dear Lord, I want to follow you.  Lord, help me love you with all my heart, soul and mind and then help me truly and sincerely love my neighbor as myself.  Lord, forgive me for being selfish and filling my plate to the point of having no more room left to give to those in need.  Father, help me love others well.  Help me be the Your skin to someone today.   In Jesus' Name, Amen.

Friday, October 9, 2015

A Closer Look at Our Fear

"He reveals deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells in Him." Daniel 2:22

My son nervously asked me to come into his room.  He hesitantly directed me to look at his window and asked, "Mom, do you see those two lights through the window that look like eyes?"  Immediately I saw what he was referring to and went over to the window.

One thing I have found through the years is to dispel a fear, you have to face it.

Admittedly, the two lights did appear a little freaky.  However, upon a closer examination, I discovered the source of the illuminated illusion.  Somehow the reflection off a shiny black object in his room had hit the window at just the right angle to appear to be two eyes on the other side.

Many of the fears we hold are similar to that of my ten year old son. His fear was only an illusion of something real.  His fear was not based on truth, but rather a lie held in his mind.  There were no eyes in the window, but rather just a reflection.

There are fears we hold which have no physical substance but rather are merely a reflection of a lie we have held onto from something in our past.

Busyness or being too fearful of what we might find by taking a closer look into the window of our souls may keep us from the window. Instead we just pull down the shades and pretend we have no fear of what is on the other side.   Whatever the reason for our lack of pursuit of extinguishing our fear, we are walking around in bondage as a result.

Perhaps it is time to take a closer look at our fears.

What I am starting to discover is that if we will just take a closer look into the dark window, we will find the root of the issue.  We can uncover the truth of what lies in the dark and bring it into the light of God's Word.  When fear is brought into the light of God's Word, His truth will shatter the darkness and fear will lose its hold.

My son is no longer afraid of his window or what is outside in the dark.  Just as I led my son to take a closer look into the darkness to dispel his fear, I want to encourage you today to ask the Lord to reveal the hidden things in the dark that are causing you fear.  Ask Him to show you what lies you are believing and seek His truth.  Fear will disappear in the light of His truth.

Revelant Scriptures:

Isaiah 41:10  "Fear not, for I am with you;  Be not dismayed, for I am your god.  I will strengthen you.  Yes, I will help you.  I will uphold you with My righteous right hand."

Deuteronomy 31:6 "Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the LORD your God goes with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.”