My wife and I are opposites in many ways, but I guess it’s one of the things that keeps our relationship interesting. Consider how the two of us eat and read. When I’m finished eating, Lori will often be only half way through her plate. However, while she can read a book in a day, I’ll take weeks to plod my way through the same tome. Of course, those are inconsequential things in the bigger context of a marriage. Right at the top for both of us in a list of priorities for maintaining our relationship would be our faith. Our goal individually and as a couple is to check our attitudes toward every aspect of our lives through the prism of how God sees it. God is our most reliable source. Hebrews 13:8 ESV says, Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today and forever. In our lives, where so much is uncertain, we can always count on the teachings of Jesus to be our solid and reliable guide. If Jesus is your source, if he is your rock, in a game of rock, paper, scissors, rock should win every time. Although currently the reputation of the news media as a whole is under fire, ideally, professional journalists should rely on multiple sources when the truth of a story may come into question. Reliable sources are a news organization’s life blood. The reason is if a story is proven to be untrue, it can cost that organization readers or viewers, which will translate into lost business. While we’re on the subject, remember that “the media” relies on advertising dollars to exist. When you click, view, and read you are telling advertisers what you support. In that sense, the media is us. It will live or die based on the attention it receives. But even if selling news isn’t your business, other people are judging your credibility every day. We’ve probably all had conversations with others regarding whether we can believe what someone else has said. If something that person said didn’t ring true, we might say, “Well, consider the source,” meaning the person in question didn’t have a reputation for telling the truth. When it comes to our relationships with — I guess just about everyone, trust has to be at the top, and once you become known as someone who lies, mishandles information, or is in other ways untrustworthy, you can expect that bond of trust to become broken. Truth and trust help to bind us together and free us to be the men and women of God we were always intended to be. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. John 8:32 NIV
Since I started this post off by talking about my wife, and thinking about the racism and hate that’s been so present in our national discussion lately, I thought I would mention something she taught me about the subtle racism that can infect our everyday speech. Let’s say you’re relating a story to a friend. The story involves a person of color, let’s say, black. When you tell that story, is the fact that the story involved a black person relevant? Would you have mentioned their color if they were white? Our descriptions of people can play into all sorts of stereotypes designed to divide into categories of inferior and superior without our being aware of it. When we allow racism and hate to become part of us in even subtle ways, we are pulling away from the source of love, truth, and eternal life who is our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. I don’t have to tell you who the source of hate, division, and the father of lies is, do I?
“Laundry is the only thing that should be separated by color.” Author Unknown
Be the change. Reflect the source that flows through you, perfect love that casts out all fear. Be the hope, the good news of salvation, of changed lives, and dried tears. Strength doesn’t always reflect expectations, and soft words can turn away wrath. Offer to kneel with another, an other. Encourage a better path.
In the grocery store where I work, this week things got real, then they got surreal. Since we’re an essential service, we’re one of the businesses remaining open following the mandatory shelter in place declaration. After all, people gotta eat. Since the corona virus arrived in our country, our leaders have been adopting strategies intended to slow its spread. For the most part, people have been trying to do their part, but, people being people, their part doesn’t always go so well. Sometimes… it just goes weird. While social distancing and hand washing seem to be the prevailing advice, we’ve had customers shop in all sorts of garb, with the intent of avoiding covid 19. One customer, who apparently couldn’t find a more traditional mask, opted instead for wearing a baby diaper on her face. One guy came in wearing a full on hazmat suit! Various other forms of protective garb have included all kinds of masks, such as the traditional bandanna. At various times the store has looked like the set of a budget movie featuring actors dressed in a combination of medical and stick-up artist costumes. While a cloud of tension hangs in the air, some customers have been doing their regular shopping, while others try to get enough supplies to stay home for the while. Three squares a day has now become a euphemism for toilet paper rationing.
Although the time we’re living through is difficult, and even bizarre, there has never been a greater opportunity in our lifetime to exhibit what trust in God looks like. The joy Christians are gifted with dries up when it isn’t shared, and we can and must share joy, especially to contrast with recent events. Yes, we are grateful Jesus has defeated death! This is the foundation of our hope. But even while we are filled with gratitude for eternity, we need to be an example of how to live now, especially because it’s hard. There will be times when we lose patience with our fellow man and with ourselves, but we can’t afford to give in to the negative emotions, words, and actions around us. Instead, we must learn to see ourselves through the eyes of Jesus and trust His intention for our now and forever.
But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me. For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10 ESV
Trust in the Lord completely, and do not rely on your own opinions. With all your heart rely on him to guide you, and he will lead you in every decision you make. Proverbs 3:5 TPT
But the Advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you. Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:26-27NIV
Give us vision beyond ourselves, God for the future and the now Fill us with true joy based on true hope to share with the rest of your children Jesus, foundation of our trust Jesus, advocate, Savior Be our light within Be our light without As we walk bless and keep your pilgrims