Thursday, June 29, 2017

The Resume of the Imperfect

Resumes present a perfect picture of the candidate.  It is properly worded, properly laid out, properly stating everything good and perfect of the man or woman at hand.

And what about the imperfect?  What about we who are flawed, marred, lost?  When does our time to shine come into play?

Hold on, my friend.  Hope is ahead.

Philip Yancey gives us this:

“Imperfection is the prerequisite 
for grace.  Light only gets in 
through the cracks.”  

How about that.  Light Shines Through the Cracks.

My Bible teaches me this …

“Where sin abounds, grace abounds more.”  And you could use a lot of different words for “sin”.  (Romans 5:20)

At another place we find this … “God’s power shows up best in weak people.” (2 Corinthians 12:9)

Does a good person, a perfect person need the grace of God?  One would think not, after all, they are good.  Maybe even perfect – or so we think.

And then comes the hard reality of “For all have sinned and fall short of God’s ideal.”

So, for all you wanna-be perfects, you “holy ones”, you “righteous to the core” types, and especially we of the “imperfect specimen” brand … thanks be to God for grace that is offered.  It is abundant, overflowing, and greater than all our short-coming, our fallacies, our sins and our failures.

We are offered grace.  You, me, the President, Billy Graham, The Pope, and the woman in the gutter on 1st Avenue in Seattle – grace is offered.

Ann Lamott says this: “We are loved and chosen, and do not have to get it together before we show up.  The opposite may be true: We may not be able to get it together until after we show up in such miserable shape.”
(Help Thanks Wow: Three Essential Prayers by Ann Lamott)

Some other wise one said this: “Thunderously, inarguably, the Sermon on the Mount proves that before God we all stand on level ground: murderers and temper-throwers, adulterers and lusters, thieves and coveters.”

Grace flows down.  How great is that!

Now, put THAT on your resume.

Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Never Enough ... Wanting More

Our world teaches us that we are never enough.  Beauty products abound and we buy them with a hope and a prayer that they will make us look more … be more … have more …

Self-help books tell us we need to do more, be
more, act more like … read more, say more mantras, attend more seminars.

And we buy it all.

Yesterday’s sales are not good enough.  We must meet today’s quotas, next month’s goals and the year-end projections.

Oh, my.  The constant quest for more, more, more.

The prodigal son story is a fine example of the quest for more.  Consider this.  The son wanted his inheritance NOW.  He did not want to wait, he could not wait for his father to die, so he in essence said, “Dad, to me you are as good as dead.  I want what is rightfully mine NOW.  I cannot wait for you to die.  Give it up now.”

And look more closely at the story.  He lived in a fine home.  He had nice clothes, abundant food, servants, family love and an easy life.  He had it all.

And he wanted more.

And so, he left.  And he had enough … for a while.

Time passed.

He ran out of money. 
And his friends left him.
And his clothes got dirty.
And his self-esteem fell.
And he was hungry. 

The boy who had everything, twice, soon found himself without anything.

And he began his journey toward home.  And what did he find?

~The father had been looking for him.
~The father had outstretched arms ready to receive him back home.
~And the father had a few words for him.  He whispered “You are my beloved son.  I have missed you.  I welcome you back, and I love you. “

Notice the father didn’t lecture.  He didn’t play twenty-questions.  He didn’t have conditions before welcoming the son back home.

He just welcomed him. 

And the prodigal father in this story is a picture of God and His great enduring love.  He receives us back after our wandering and wasting experiences.

He doesn’t ask questions.
He doesn’t demand answers of “where”, “what”, “with whom”, and “how much.”

He just receives us back. 
He loves us back home.

That is enough for me.

Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Hands of God

What do the hands of God look like?  I imagine they look like this.
These are the hands of Mother Theresa.  The stories they tell, the lives they’ve touched … it staggers the imagination when we think about all that these hands have done for the good of mankind.

And consider these hands.  And consider what
they do for the benefit of mankind.

Just because they are not Mother Theresa’s hands does not negate their worth and value.

Small acts, from small and unknown hands, lead to giant works of love and grace in God’s kingdom. 

A personal story … I have a friend who lives near me from Nigeria.  His friends and family in Nigeria make lovely baskets and ship them to my friend Kebe.

Just two days ago I found out he was having a bit of a financial crises.  I quietly slipped him a twenty-dollar bill.  The thanks and appreciation I received far out-valued the worth of that bill.  My hands became God’s hands in that small gesture. 

And guess what?  The next day … the very next day, Kebe came to me and repaid me.  His words to me were precious, esteeming, and soul-filling words of gratitude.  He elevated me to a level I do not deserve, yet in his eyes, I was a savior of sorts.

All I did was use what I had at hand and I gave it in the name of the Lord.

My friend Jim is a song writer, arranger, keyboardist and very creative individual.  This morning I’ve been listening to his new project.  My heart is enlarged because of Jim’s work with his hands.  And many others will experience that as well.

I have doctor friends and I think often of how their hands become the hands of God in performing the healing arts.

My singer friends heal when they sing words that lend themselves to soul communication.

I suppose at times my hands become the hands of God when I write my books and blogs.  They whip out a string of letters, then words, then sentences and paragraphs and that turns into hope and encouragement for people. 
What do your hands do? 

I have a book by my side – Works of Love are Works of Peace.  It is a photographic record of Mother Theresa’s life by Michael Collopy. 

I quote Mother Theresa:

So you begin.  I begin.  I picked up one person – maybe if I didn’t pick up that one person I wouldn’t have picked up the others. 

The whole work is only a drop in the ocean.  But if we don’t put the drop in, the ocean would be one drop less.

Same thing for you.  Same thing for your family.  Same thing in the church where you go.  Just begin.  One … One … One.
~Works of Love are Works of Peace Page 35

Offering Words of
Hope Encouragement
One Word at a Time