My Musings – “If you can?” My doubt rarely manifests itself this way. I am usually confident that God can, but I am not always confident that He will. I don’t know if this is a worse kind of doubt or not. Is it because I believe I am not worthy of God’s help? Or is it because I acknowledge that God might have a higher purpose? I wish I could say it was a faith like Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego, who facing the fiery furnace told King Nebuchadnezzar, “we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-18, NIV 1984).
My Advice – Let our faith be like the three Hebrew children – yes, God always can, but there may be times that He will not. Even in those circumstances, let’s stand firm in the faith that God is sovereign and that it is not because He does not love us. Sometimes He will remove us from it, whatever it may be, but there will be other times that He will take us through it. It may be as dark as the “valley of the shadow of death,” or as threatening as the fiery furnance, but no matter what “thou art with me.”
My Musings – “The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But…the good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?” ― Martin Luther King Jr.
What indeed? I’ve done it. Maybe you have too. The stranded motorist all alone. Well, who doesn’t have a cell phone these days? They can call someone. It’s a busy road, someone is bound to stop. I’m running late, I can’t be bothered this time, I’ll get the next one. What if it’s a ruse, I could be putting myself in real danger. On the other hand, what if they don’t have a cell phone? Would it be a bother even if I did have the time? What if it’s a not to well-traveled road? What if I don’t stop to help, they could be left in real danger?
How about the shabbily-dressed person on the corner with the crudely lettered sign “any amount will help?” They’re probably running a scam. They’ll probably use it for drugs or alcohol. Why don’t they go out and look for a job? What if they’ve tried it all and just want to feed their family just for this day?
Without getting too political (too late), what about the refugee seeking a better life? They’re probably here for free benefits. They just want to come here and change things to the same as what they left. What if they belong to some sleeper cell? Why don’t they just come here legally? What if they really did flee a life and death situation?
Maybe some of the concerns and objections above are legitimate. After all, there will always be those looking to take advantage. Many of the situations we face will be tough calls. But do we really want to turn a “blind-eye” to those who might be truly in need because we are afraid of what might happen to us or skeptical hat their needs are genuine? While we need to be wise and wary, at the end of the day we are responsible for our hearts and actions and not the other person’s motives.
My Advice – We all know that immediately after the above question “and who is my neighbor?” Jesus told the parable of the Good Samaritan. Isn’t it interesting that the two in the parable most likely to lend a hand did not (maybe they used some of the above rationalizations), and the one least likely to care at all (the “hated” Samaritan) cared enough to act. “Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?” The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.” Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.” (Luke 10:36-37, NIV 1984).
Maybe the ones we find in apparently needy situations are our “hated” Samaritans. Should it make a difference? The point of the parable is no. They are just as much our neighbor as the ones we visit with over the white picket fence.
My Musings – He’s watching and listening. Nothing escapes or distracts His attention. So when things appear to be going amiss, we need to ask ourselves why that might be. Have we wandered where we do not belong? Is there something He’s trying to teach us? Has He got something better planned? It certainly is not because He has not been paying attention. He is well aware of what’s going on.
My Advice – Maybe its time for us to keep our eyes “on” Him and our ears attentive to His “voice.” Of course, it’s always time for that.
My Musings – When we are covered by 1) God’s grace, through 2) His Son, we are plugged in to an awesome power base, 3) the Holy Spirit. But sometimes, (many times) we get in the way of that power by relying on our own strengths, which in reality are weaknesses. Once we acknowledge that, God’s power is perfected in our weaknesses.
Now for the understatement: “My grace is sufficient” (enough to meet the needs of a situation, adequate). Enough and adequate, hardly seem impressive. But the point is, no matter how small or how big the “situation,” God’s power will always be enough. God’s power is all we will ever need.
My Advice – Admit your own insufficiencies (weaknesses), let go and let God.
My Musings – Leadership is not measured by the number of people that report to you. It is measured by the number of people that follow you. People may report to a title on a business card, but they follow a leader. People have to follow the boss. They want to follow a leader. So what makes a person want to follow, as opposed to having to report?
It is a responsibility that hinges almost entirely on character. Leadership is about integrity, honesty and accountability. All components of trust. Leadership comes from telling us not what we want to hear, but rather what we need to hear. To be a true leader, to engender deep trust and loyalty, starts with telling the truth. (From “Leaders Eat Last,” by Simon Sinek).
My Advice – People will follow and be loyal to those they trust. People will trust those who show integrity, honesty and accountability. These are shown by being truthful, telling people what they need to hear, whether they want to hear it or not. The “voice” of truth is the “voice” of trust. People will “listen to” (follow) a “voice” like that. Be that “voice.”
My Musings – “Stand for something or you will fall for anything. Today’s mighty oak is yesterday’s nut that held its ground.” Probably said by Rosa Parks (Rosa Louise McCauley Parks, 1913 – 2005, African American civil rights activist). Variations of the first part of this quote have been attributed to many different people, with the true origin of the quote unknown. I think we might be safe in attributing it to Isaiah.
The Biblical definition of faith, is found in Hebrews 11:1: “Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see (NIV 1984).” In other words, a firm belief in something for which there is no proof. Another version states that it is the substance (what’s tangible) of hope (what’s intangible), the evidence (proof) of what cannot be seen (unprovable). You may end up being called a nut. But if you don’t stand firm, you’ll never become a might oak. in fact, if you do not stand firm, you will not stand at all.
My Advice – Don’t just stand for something. Stand for someone. Stand for a firm belief in Jesus Christ. If you do, though you cannot see it, you can be certain that you will never fall. You’d be nuts not to.
My Musings – As often as not, real trust is more a matter of the heart than it is of the mind. We often have to follow our hearts, when logic and our understanding on how things appear to be are telling us we should not trust. If we do not trust with all of our heart, can it really be trust?
“If my heart could do my thinking, and my head begin to feel, I would look upon the world anew, and know what’s truly real.”— Van Morrison
My Advice – In God we can trust. Your mind may have its doubts at times, but in your heart you know you should.