Wednesday, August 26, 2009

A Horse is a Horse. . .Of Course

In horse riding, horse bits and bridles work on the horses head and mouth to control the direction of the horse. A bit has a distinctive purpose; to transmit messages from the rider to the horse. Using the bit, the horse can also transmit messages to the rider. It is a form of communication. Communication is a way of reaching an understanding and is a two-way process. Again; if you can control the mouth, you can control the direction of the whole body.

James Chapter 3: 3-10
“When we put bits into the mouths of horses to make them obey us, we can turn the whole animal. Or take ships as an example. Although they are so large and are driven by strong winds, they are steered by a very small rudder wherever the pilot wants to go. Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.
All kinds of animals, birds, reptiles and creatures of the sea are being tamed and have been tamed by man, but no man can tame the tongue. It is a restless evil, full of deadly poison.
With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse men, who have been made in God's likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers, this should not be…”

Some of you probably think you know where I am going with this; however, bear with me. I am going to make bare my soul for a moment.
My mouth is, and has always been my worst enemy. It would take far too long for me to confess all of the abominations committed with my mouth; however, I have to dispel a few.
First and foremost, I complain. I whine about my situation and refuse to acknowledge the blessings in my life. I have more than an abundance of love, provisions, and material things; yet, it is all I can do to stop myself from mentioning what I lack. This is the first sin that I must confess to you today and repent of. God forgive me. I have been given much by you; however, I have slighted you the praise you deserve for my many blessings. God I am sorry. I thank you for your mercy and I honor you for your grace in this matter. Lord God, you are my provider. It is with much gratitude that I now thank you for all that I have.
Next, I have the most explosive temper of any woman I know. I am so slow to reach the boiling point; but, once I do, my mouth destroys my character. I repent. God I repent for the hateful things said out of anger. I am sorry for the pain that I have caused by harsh words. I thank you for your forgiveness.
Also, I talk. I may have the best of intentions; nevertheless, it is wrong of me to repeat rumors or slander that I hear about others; especially given the fact that I may not know the entire situation. It is not my responsibility to educate the World on others wrongdoings. God, I am sorry. Please remove this board from my eye and help me to see others more clearly. Not so that I can talk about their private sins; but so that I will know how to pray for them. Or, so that I can plainly see if I am the one, all along, needing the prayer.
Last, with my tongue I can mislead. This may be my greatest sin of late. It is wrong of me to give the wrong impression to another simply to satisfy my ego. Not only do I repent to you, Father; I also repent to those that I have misled. Give me the strength to go to those and end what I have begun.

God I realize that I cannot tame my tongue. I fully understand that this is impossible for me to do. I no longer fight this bridle. I give you praise for this beautiful bit of the Holy Spirit. It is communication with you! Use it to hold my tongue so I can hear what you are saying; then move in the direction you would have me go.

Monday, August 10, 2009

Pull Back Your Curtains

I never even noticed that he was different. His hands were normal to me. How many fingers are you supposed to have anyway?
My brother…. Aaron was born with a handicap. Actually, it depends on who you were and how you looked at it. I just remember when I was really young, a little girl telling me that normal people had four fingers and a thumb on each hand.
But my parents raised us to look past the differences. We were taught not to be uncomfortable around others who had disabilities or just were not like us. No, we did not pretend that they did not exist; just that people are different and our differences are what make us special.

What makes me think of this? Glad you asked . . . <3

Luke 13:10-17

On a Sabbath Jesus was teaching in one of the synagogues, and a woman was there who had been crippled by a spirit for eighteen years. She was bent over and could not straighten up at all. When Jesus saw her, he called her forward and said to her, "Woman, you are set free from your infirmity." Then he put his hands on her, and immediately she straightened up and praised God.
Indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, the synagogue ruler said to the people, "There are six days for work. So come and be healed on those days, not on the Sabbath." The Lord answered him, "You hypocrites! Doesn't each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or donkey from the stall and lead it out to give it water? Then should not this woman, a daughter of Abraham, whom Satan has kept bound for eighteen long years, be set free on the Sabbath day from what bound her?"
When he said this, all his opponents were humiliated, but the people were delighted with all the wonderful things he was doing.....

So often we look at this beautiful story as a story of yet another miracle performed by a loving Christ. It has always represented healing. But if you look closer, you will see it clearly. For eighteen long years this woman was crippled… her worn out body shaped not much differently than a question mark. I know that there were those who pitied her; others stared and mocked; worse yet, some pretended not to notice her. They acted as if they did not even see her as they went on about their business in the markets and the temple. She was not worth even a glance. . . .
Yet when He saw her, He did not turn away. No. He looked at her and spoke to her. He touched her. He healed her. What must it have felt like to, after 18 long years, be able to stand up straight and tall and stare into the eyes of love!
I think reading this makes me ask myself, “Do I look at them?” And when I do, do I see a human being or a deformity. Is it the person that I look at, or is it their differences? If they looked into my eyes, would they see love or discomfort?

We need to look. Then we need to speak. Even if it is just to talk about what a beautiful day it is. Most importantly we need to be able to touch. We need to shake a hand, touch a shoulder, or even give a hug when it is appropriate. Just like Christ, we need to be able to put aside the differences and let others know they are valued. Let them know that they are children of an almighty, loving God and that makes them so significant. They are worth it. Who knows, you and I may be the only window by which they catch a glimpse of a loving God. So pull back your curtains.