Monday, December 31, 2012
By: D. Cerullo
“‘I know the plans that I have for you,’ declares the LORD, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity to give you a future and a hope.’” Jeremiah 29:11 NASB
On the surface, everything seemed hopeless. God’s people had abandoned Him and embraced sin. As a result, judgment was coming. In fact, the people of Judah were about to go into exile.
Everything was being shaken.
But in the midst of these uncertain times, God gave His people a powerful reassurance: Hestill had a plan for their lives. No matter how world conditions might appear, the Lord had not planned “calamity” for them. Although they would go through uncertainties and difficulties, His plan was for their welfare. He already had planned a wonderful “future and a hope” for them.
God wanted them to focus on His sovereignty and trust in Him. He had not abandoned them. As they called upon Him, He promised to hear them.
But there was a condition: They needed to seek Him with their whole heart. We feel God’s concern and how much He wanted to help them, heal them, protect them, bless them, and restore them. His thoughts were “of peace and not of evil” (KJV).
The Lord’s words of comfort and assurance still are true. In our time, there may be problems and uncertainty in the world. No one knows what will happen tomorrow. But we need to remember that God knows the future! His plans are sure, and He wants to prosper us and give us a hope.
God does not just have a plan for the world, but also for you! In fact, you have a role to play in His unfolding plan for the world. How can you find that plan? That unique role? How can you receive His peace? By seeking Him with all your heart.
Call on Him today! Commit the coming days to Him. He knows the plans that He has for you…and they are GOOD plans!
”Father, thank You that You have prepared a future for me. I seek You. I submit my life to You. Direct my steps. Help me to serve and please You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.”
Sunday, December 30, 2012
By: C. Arrington
“Commit to the Lord whatever you do and he will establish your plans.” (Proverbs 16:3)
Most of us look forward to Christmas with joy and anticipation. Then, almost too quickly, the New Year abruptly arrives only a week later. How do you view the coming year? Do you look forward to fresh possibilities and renewed potential? Or do you cling to the familiarity of the waning year?
Whether we like it or not, time hurls us forward. The New Year stretches before us like a blank white piece of paper. Why not take advantage of the clean slate the New Year provides and set some goals to work toward. As you set goals, be willing to take steps out of your comfort zone. But remember, making the goals realistic for your age and stage of life will determine whether the goals are attainable.
Following are some areas in which to consider goal setting:
Spiritual goals – (John 15:5) Spiritual growth doesn’t just happen. Decide to devote some time and energy to jump-starting spiritual growth:
1. Read the Bible through. Even if you’ve done this before, consider doing it again. God will show you fresh truths when you dig into His Word. Read-the-Bible through. Guides are available from a number of sources.
2. Get involved in a structured Bible study. There are lots of many options. If your church doesn’t offer group Bible studies, check to see if studies are offered in your community at Christian bookstores or other churches.
3. Decide to share Jesus without fear. Make witnessing a priority.
Mental goals – (Proverbs 1:5) Challenge yourself mentally by taking steps to learn or try something new.
1. Do in-depth library or Internet research on a particular subject – a country, a religion, or historical event. Take notes on what you’ve learned.
2. Enroll in a continuing education class at a local college or tech school.
3. Get your whole family involved in learning a foreign language.
4. Volunteer to teach English as a second language.
Emotional/Relational Goals – (Colosians 3:12-13) Often we need to work on emotional issues or strained relationships, but continually avoid doing so because of the difficulties involved. Consider goals in the following areas:
1. Forgiveness – Decide to extend the gift of forgiveness for an old hurt. You’ll gain a new sense of freedom because you no longer carry a grudge.
2. Patience – Practice patience in areas where you are historically impatient.
3. Anger management – Make a conscious decision to control your anger and determine its sources.
Physical Goals – (1 Corinthians 6:19-20) Following the marathon overindulgence of December, most of us need to get serious about maintaining the temple that is our body. Decide to:
1. Enroll in an exercise program and go! It’s easy to have a gym membership, but it takes discipline to actually attend and work out.
2. Deny yourself those tasty morsels that do nothing to adorn the temple. View food as fuel for the machine instead of gratification for the taste buds.
3. Have a family plan that encourages physical activity and togetherness.
Sunday, December 23, 2012
By: S. Chavis
“Where the heart is willing, it will find a thousand ways. Where it is unwilling, it will find a thousand excuses.” Arlen Price
We are only 8 days from 2013 (give or take a few days depending on when you’re reading this). Can you believe it’s practically 2013? The year has flown by – hasn’t it?
What a year it’s been. I know for me this year has been filled with so many changes, challenges, curve balls, ups, downs and of course my favorite things – possibilities. And, when I look at just about everyone else around me, I see that these exact same things have played out in their lives as well.
In fact, so much has happened this year, that I feel like I can’t even remember January. It feels like ages ago. Is it the same for you too?
Over the last year, there were so many lessons and experiences that came our way. Perhaps you’ve had:
those situations that tested your ability to forgive and keep moving forward;
those times where the Chief Negativity Officer in your mind needed to be reeled in so you could manage through fears and doubts;
those times when you had way too much going on and you just needed to slow down, put things into perspective, and take a Time In;
a realization that it was time to finally make a tough decision about something that’s been weighing on you.
Over the last year there really were so many experiences and lessons that came our way. Every single thing we experienced, has in one way or another strengthened us and set us up to take advantage of the future in a new and improved way – even if that’s sometimes hard to see.
It’s Time to Gear Up For 2013
So, the time has come to get ready for 2013 and set ourselves up to make it one of the best years we’ve ever had.
Isn’t it time to make the things you really want happen? I know I am committed to doing that and if you are too, I have discovered the 7 specific steps that must be taken and a roadmap that can be used.
But, for now, let’s make sure we are getting all the excuses out of the way.
In January, many of you committed to not make anymore excuses in 2012. I am so glad you did, and of course am hoping you will join me again. Because it’s time to take a quantum leap. Doesn’t that sound good?
Here’s a reminder of the list of 59 excuses we are committed to not making. If you have made any of these in 2012, it happened and its over – no need for regrets or to beat yourself up.
Today is a new day and 2013 will have a whole new set of possibilities just sitting there waiting to be taken advantage of. Get rid of all the excuses TODAY so you can see your possibilities, choose them, and most importantly seize them.
59 Excuses to (Again) Make Sure You Aren’t Making
1. I just can’t do it
2. I don’t have enough time
3. It’s too late
4. It’s impossible
5. It’s just not realistic
6. I tried already and it didn’t work
7. I’m afraid of failing
8. It’s just not the right time
9. It’s going to be so difficult
10. I don’t have the willpower
11. There is a reason why things aren’t falling into place
12. I don’t want to try, get my hopes up and end up being disappointed
13. Things rarely go my way
14. I’m not as good as the other people that are already doing it
15. My friends don’t think it will work
16. Every time I try, it never works out
17. I am not motivated enough
18. I will be so embarrassed if it doesn’t work out
19. Things like that never happen to people like me
20. I doubt that would work
21. I’ve got responsibilities and bills to pay
22. I don’t want anyone to see me fail
23. I am just not disciplined enough
24. It’s too risky
25. It will take so long
26. I don’t deserve it
27. That’s just not how I am wired
28. I can’t afford it
29. Nothing ever goes my way
30. I don’t have the energy
31. I’m too old
32. I’m too young
33. That’s just not the way things work
34. It’s too big
35. I’m too scared
36. I’m too tired
37. I am not smart enough
38. It’s too hard to change
39. I can’t take that chance
40. I have too much to lose
41. I am too afraid of what could happen
42. No one believes I can do it
43. I can’t figure it out
44. I never have been good at completing things
45. I am not disciplined enough
46. Life isn’t fair
47. I am cursed
48. I already did everything I could
49. It’s just too much
50. I am stressed out
51. I can’t go any further
52. It’s never going to happen
53. No one will ever give me a chance
54. I can’t focus
55. I am too lazy
56. I just can’t do it anymore
57. I don’t have anyone that will support or help me
58. I am afraid it will not work
59. It’s just not possible
Wednesday, December 19, 2012
By: M. Butler
I heard someone say one time, “Testings will last as long as it takes to change our mind, attitude, and actions.” But isn’t it just like our human nature to respond with the “knee jerk” reaction of “Yeah, but I really can’t see the value or purpose behind all of this trouble and all of these trials”?
Our carnal mind is as shrewd as a lawyer looking for a loophole. Let’s face it: we don’t like tribulation one bit, and if we had our way, it would be “us” on “easy street” from here on out! But God’s Word tells us a different story.
“In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; for I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33)
The mind of Christ knows that the servant is not above his Lord. The disciple is not above his Master, who learned obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:8). God is even now preparing a people who cannot be moved, upset, or frustrated by anything. The cry of His heart is for His sons and daughters to share His throne and shepherd the nations with a rod of iron (Revelation 2:26-27).
We have to be a people whose character is unshakable. Can we walk around in the furnace of testing without complaining? Can we still shout praises in the jail at midnight? Tall order, I know, but there is always a purpose in our trials, a purpose in our affliction, a purpose in our tribulations. All the temptations, tears, heartaches, unfaithful friends, loss of property, loss of business, peril, hateful neighbors, fiery furnaces, dens of lions, rugged crosses—all things too numerous to mention—are working for the good of God’s elect and are adding, though unseen now, an exceeding and eternal weight of glory to us.
“O Majestic heavenly Father, we know that all things work together in Your hands, and nothing comes into our lives without it first coming through You. All that comes to us is for our good and Your glory. Your desire for us is that we be refined and purified, even through fire. And at Christ’s return, we will be part of His bride, without spot or wrinkle, ready to reign with Him in glory forever. In all things, no matter how trying or difficult, teach us to rejoice and always trust in You.
“Many are the afflictions of the righteous: but the Lord delivereth him out of them all.” (Psalm 34:19)
Saturday, December 15, 2012
By: K. Hee
What are you worth? If you asked Bill Gates that question, he’d probably reply something like 60 billion dollars! But if someone came up to you and asked you that question, would you respond with a dollar value? Or, would you understand that your worth is more than just silver and gold?
You are precious to God. He knew you even before you were born. Even before your conception, He called you by name and gave you a destiny. He knows the number of hair you have on your head (Luke 12:7)! That’s how important you are to Him!
And here’s the most important thing about your value in God’s eyes: You are worth so much that He sent His Son to die for you. He doesn’t value us by taking into account all of our deficits, and then looking at how good we’ve been to determine whether we’re “in the red” or “in the black”! He see’s your worth as what He declares it to be: PRICELESS!
This is why His promise in Romans 8:32 is so powerful: “He who did not spare His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him also freely give us all things?”
Since we’re so precious in God’s eyes that He would send His Son to die for us, why wouldn’t He freely give us His favor?
God loved you so much that He sent His most beloved Son, Jesus Christ, to die on the cross on our behalf; so that we might be able to receive salvation through Him and be reunited with our Heavenly Father. If you haven’t embraced His gift of eternal life, do it today! And if you have, live every day giving thanks to Him for the worth He’s placed on you!
Pray that God will help you understand your true value in His eyes. Ask for strength to live your life in light of your worth to your Heavenly Father.
Wednesday, December 12, 2012
By: J. Maxwell
"Speak up for the people who have no voice, for the rights of all the down-and-outers. Speak out for justice! Stand up for the poor and destitute!"
Proverbs 31:8-9 (The Message)
Proverbs 31:8-9 (The Message)
Nothing has such a positive impact on a person as giving to others. And people who have a giving spirit are some of the most positive people I know. That's because giving is the highest level of living. They focus their time and energy on what they can give to others rather than what they can get from them. And the more a person gives, the better his attitude.
Most unsuccessful people don't understand this concept. They believe that how much people give and their attitude about it are based on how much they have. But that's not true. I know many people who have very little but are tremendous givers. And I know people who have been blessed with money, good families, and wonderful careers who are stingy and suspicious of others.
In life, it's not what you have that makes a difference. It's what you do with what you have. And that is based completely on attitude.
Thursday, December 6, 2012
“Then Pharoah said to Joseph, “Since God has made all this known to you, there is no one so discerning and wise as you. You shall be in charge of my palace, and all my people are to submit to your orders. Only with respect to the throne will I be greater than you.” (Genesis 41:40 NIV)
Nobody, not even the magicians nor the wise men of Egypt could interpret Pharaoh’s troubling dream. Eventually, Pharaoh’s chief cupbearer remembered that while in prison, a young Hebrew boy, Joseph, had interpreted his dream and that of the baker. Joseph was summoned and God enabled him to interpret Pharaoh’s dream. Joseph told Pharaoh that there would be seven years of plenty followed by seven years of famine. Joseph advised Pharaoh to appoint a man who would be in charge of setting aside a fifth of the harvest during the years of plenty so that there would be enough food during the seven years of famine. Pharaoh was quick to appoint Joseph to be the man.
Brethren, it should be noted that the thirteen years or so before this time, Joseph was thrown in a pit by his brothers, then sold to Midianite traders for twenty shekels of silver by the same brothers. He was later sold as a slave to Portipher, Pharaoh’s captain of the guard. In Portipher’s house, he was lied against then thrown into prison. Joseph had seen it all. But God had a plan for Joseph’s life and nothing was going to abort that plan. God had already given Joseph dreams of what was to become of him and nothing, not even imprisonment, was going to stop those dreams from materializing and they did come to pass. That is why Joseph was able to say to his brothers, “You intended to harm me, but God intended it for good to accomplish what is now being done, the saving of many lives.”(Genesis 50:20 NIV)
Friends, our God knows our end from the beginning and because He is by nature good, His plans for us are good. He says in Jeremiah 29:11, “For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God knew Joseph’s end from the beginning and He was simply using the trials and circumstances to prepare him for where he was taking Him.
In Romans 8:28 the Word of God says “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.” Yes, the road may be rough and the trials may be tough but God says He will work all things out for our good.
Just as He used the trials to prepare Joseph to become second in command to Pharaoh, so He is preparing you for what He has in store for you. Remember, “For surely there is an end; and thine expectation shall not be cut off.” (Proverbs 23:18 KJV)
“Lord, we thank you for all that you continue to do for us. We bless you for your lovingkindness towards us. Help us never to give up when the persecution and trials come but to remember your Word that you have good plans for us. May we continue to trust you and love you even as we face these trials knowing that you are working all things out for our good in Jesus Mighty Name. Amen.”
Thursday, November 29, 2012
By: D. Armstrong
If there is anything certain in life, it is change. If we could design our own lives, they would be filled with all that we want and nothing that we don’t want. Life, however, doesn’t work that way. Life is about growth and progression. Flowers bloom and fade; seeds sprout and grow; butterflies undergo four distinct life cycles; and the list goes on.
The bible is full of examples on transformation. A notable record is found in II Corinthians 5: 17—"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; Behold, all things are become new." Note here that the scripture signifies that a process takes place. To grow, we must undergo change both physically and mentally.
But why do we resist change? As Christians, many of us find it difficult to accept change in our lives, even though we religiously quote, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” Let’s be honest with ourselves about one thing—change is NOT easy. And one of the reasons we have a difficult time dealing with change is because of the emotional factors associated with it. These emotions include fear, discouragement, anxiety, insecurity, caution, anger, confusion, anticipation, inhibited disappointment, concern, unsettled depression, avoidance, uncomfortable dread, and excitement.
Many of us are resistant to change because it takes us out of our comfort zones, exposing some degree of our vulnerability. When change occurs, we most often first feel that there is a loss of some sort. If we lose our job, emotion interprets it as a loss of identity or financial stability. If we develop illness or disease, emotion interprets it as loss of good health. If our personal relationship comes to an end or experiences a major shift, emotion interprets the event as a setback. And since emotions tend to unmask us and make us seemingly vulnerable, we resist those things that unveil our nakedness.
On both spiritual and natural plateaus, change serves as a catalytic agent, and personal and spiritual growth are its by-products. I now know this all too well. I would venture to say that I’ve been in a season of change over the course of the past two years. From a change in my health status that resulted in sudden hospitalizations in the intensive care unit, to career issues, and relocation, I have been undergoing continuous transition. And while I believed that I was handling the changes with grace and honor, I reached my breaking point one day.
One of the effects of Graves’ disease is significant hair loss. My beautician had been trying to “save” my hair but determined that a haircut was inevitable. In less than fifteen minutes, my glory was on the salon floor. My initial feeling was that of loss—hair loss. While I knew that my hair would grow back, that wasn’t my dilemma. My dilemma was being forced out of my comfort zone. I cried and lamented over the issue. But my feelings, although legitimate in argument, was actually useless in terms of my benefit. I had to accept change. This experience shaped my outlook, molded my character, and caused me to activate faith in my healing process.
When change happens, we have a few options. We can live with it, adapt to it, or grow from it. Some things we will have to let go of, say good-bye to, or even release ourselves from.
We must remember that no matter how devastating the form of change, a golden opportunity awaits.
As the scripture declares, change ushers in newness—a new attitude, a new direction, a new relationship, a mended relationship, a closer relationship with God, a new career, a new home, a new church, a new medical report, etcetera. For change is opportunity-driven; it is a special invitation to personal and spiritual empowerment and advancement.
Embrace change and live abundantly!
"Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; Behold, all things are become new." - II Corinthians 5:17
Monday, November 26, 2012
Growing up, my parents knew this couple. They had been friends for a long time. This couple really loved my parents, but they didn't attend Lakewood. They lived on the other side of town and thought it was too far. It was about a 30-minute drive, which is really no big deal nowadays. But for years they told my father, "If you ever bring Lakewood to our side of town, we will be there every time the doors open. In fact, there are so many people, thousands on this side of town, that would love to attend Lakewood."
My father heard him say that so much that he was convinced that there was this mass of people on the other side of town waiting for Lakewood. So he rented an auditorium less than five minutes from the house of this couple, spent thousands of dollars on the building, the sound system and the advertising; and for one month, every Thursday night he brought Lakewood to that side of town. The truth is, God didn't call him to do it; these people called him to do it. They talked him into it. It was a good idea, but it wasn't a God idea. There is a difference. There can be a lot of things that look fine on the surface, but you've got to search your heart and say, "God, is this for me? Is this a part of my destiny? Is this a God idea or is this just a distraction? Is this just people trying to squeeze me into their mold?"
My father went to great lengths to have this service across town and spent thousands of dollars—and do you know that practically nobody showed up, less than 200 people. The amazing thing is that the couple who talked him into it did not even attend a single service. The first week, they had Little League. The second week, they had guests in from out of town. The third week, their goldfish was sick. The fourth week, their cat was depressed. They had the craziest excuses. My father left there kicking himself all the way back across town. He learned his lesson. If people call you, people will have to take care of you; but when God calls you, God will take care of you.
I've heard it said, "What God orders, He will pay for." Just because something is good, if it's not God's plan for your life, there won't be an anointing on it. You have to stay sensitive to the peace of God on the inside. Don't go against that Still, Small Voice. You're not anointed to be everywhere; you're anointed to be where God has called you to be.
(Isaiah 30:21, NKJV)
Tuesday, November 20, 2012
People live by their feelings more than anything else much of the time. If you listen, you’ll hear people talk about how they feel more than just about anything else. I wonder sometimes if we’re serving the god of our feelings more than the God of the Bible.
For example, someone says, “I don’t feel God loves me.” Well, He does. Or “I don’t feel I have a future.” Well, you can. The Bible clearly says God loves us and that He has good plans for us. But when we believe the lies the enemy puts in our mind over the Word of God, we will feel like the lies are true and then live like it.
The Danger of Emotional Living
Emotional people make big mistakes when they base decisions on how they feel rather than obeying God and what they know is the right thing to do. We have to learn how to live beyond our feelings and do what’s right even when we wrong.
I’m frequently asked how I feel about things. “Joyce, how do you feel about traveling?” I’ve learned not to live by my feelings, so I tell them, “I don’t really ask myself how I feel about it.” You see, if I let my feelings “vote,” I just might decide not to do what I know I need to do. I don’t always like traveling, especially on long trips that give me jet lag. And I don’t always like staying in a hotel.
But I’ve decided to follow God’s will for my life and not let my feelings dictate what I do. I’ve learned to let what the Bible says dictate my decisions. I’ve set my mind to be a blessing to others and make right choices that honor God.
What Determines How You Live?
“ We have to learn how to live beyond our feelings and do what's right even when we feel wrong. ”
How often do you say, “I feel like…” or “I don’t feel like…” and then do what you feel? Do your feelings dictate how you treat people? Or what you say? Do feelings run your life?
You may be thinking, I agree. I can’t help how I feel at times and I’m not going to pretend I don’t feel anything. Emotions won’t go away – we must learn how to manage them and not let them manage us.
There are times when I have felt insecure about speaking at a conference. But I decided to trust God and have confidence that He would help me. When I stepped out to teach, the feelings of insecurity went away. There are times when I’ve been angry with Dave and felt like giving him the cold shoulder, but when I decided to pray and ask God for the grace to forgive him or ask for his forgiveness, I’ve had the ability to treat him the way God wants me to.
The key here is refusing to be passive and making a conscious decision to do what’s right. Being passive means you wait for an outside force to move you or to feel like doing something. Use your will to choose what’s right. And pray for God’s grace to give you the ability to do it.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
By: F. Kong
Ann Wells writes a story for the Los Angeles time and her story has touched so many wives all over the world through the facility of the Internet. Let me share it with you:
My brother-in-law opened the bottom drawer of my sister’s bureau and lifted out a tissue-wrapped package. “This,” he said, “is not a slip. This is lingerie.” He discarded the tissue and handed me the slip. It was exquisite; silk, handmade and trimmed with a cobweb of lace. The price tag with an astronomical figure on it was still attached. “Jan bought this the first time we went to New York, at least 8 or 9 years ago. She never wore it. She was saving it for a special occasion.
Well, I guess this is the occasion.” He took the slip from me and put it on the bed with the other clothes we were taking to the mortician. His hands lingered on the soft material for a moment, then he slammed the drawer shut and turned to me. “Don’t ever save anything for a special occasion.
Every day you’re alive is a special occasion.” I remembered those words through the funeral and the days that followed when I helped him and my niece attend to all the sad chores that follow an unexpected death. I thought about them on the plane returning to California from the Midwestern town where my sister’s family lives. I thought about all the things that she hadn’t seen or heard or done. I thought about the things that she had done without realizing that they were special.
I’m still thinking about his words, and they’ve changed my life. I’m reading more and dusting less. I’m sitting on the deck and admiring the view without fussing about the weeds in the garden. I’m spending more time with my family and friends and less time in committee meetings. Whenever possible, life should be a pattern of experience to savor, not endure. I’m trying to recognize these moments now and cherish them. I’m not “saving” anything; we use our good china and crystal for every special event-such as losing a pound, getting the sink unstopped, the first camellia blossom.
I wear my good blazer to the market if I feel like it. My theory is if I look prosperous, I can shell out $28.49 for one small bag of groceries without wincing. I’m not saving my good perfume for special parties; clerks in hardware stores and tellers in banks have noses that function as well as my party-going friends’. “Someday” and “one of these days” are losing their grip on my vocabulary. If it’s worth seeing or hearing or doing, I want to see and hear and do it now.
I’m not sure what my sister would have done had she known that she wouldn’t be here for the tomorrow we all take for granted. I think she would have called family members and a few close friends. She might have called a few former friends to apologize and mend fences for past squabbles. I like to think she would have gone out for a Chinese dinner, her favorite food. I’m guessing-I’ll never know. It’s those little things left undone that would make me angry if I knew that my hours were limited.
Angry because I put off seeing good Friends whom I was going to get in touch with-someday. Angry because I hadn’t written certain letters that I intended to write-one of these days.
Angry and sorry that I didn’t tell my husband and daughter often enough how much I truly love them. I’m trying very hard not to put off, hold back, or save anything that would add laughter and luster to our lives. And every morning when I open my eyes, I tell myself that it is special. Every day, every minute, every breath truly is...a gift from God.
Good things are not meant to be kept. They are meant to be used and enjoyed. They are meant to benefit others. Make an honest survey today. Are you still keeping that particular something for a special occasion?
Are you still dwelling on the street named “someday I’ll…….” “someday I’ll tell her I love her, someday I’ll show him I care…….”
Every day is a gift of God. Every good things come from God above. Don’t lose the good thing that is meant for the here and now. Because good things are not meant to be kept.
Tuesday, November 13, 2012
By: L. Adams
Do you recall the first time you looked through a microscope? You may have been looking at a piece of a plant or a microorganism, but the purpose of using the microscope was to make something that was tiny appear large. Looking through a microscope at something that I could not otherwise see always brings a sense of awe and wonderment to me.
Do you also remember the first time you peered at the heavens through a telescope? Suddenly, something that was enormous seemed to be close, personal and small, didn’t it?
Do you realize that every day you look at life through both a telescope and a microscope, depending on the circumstance? How do I know this? Let me show you from the Scriptures.
In Luke 6: 41-42 (NLT) we hear Jesus teaching his disciples with these words, “And why worry about a speck in your friend's eye when you have a log in your own? How can you think of saying, 'Friend, let me help you get rid of that speck in your eye,' when you can't see past the log in your own eye? Hypocrite! First get rid of the log from your own eye; then perhaps you will see well enough to deal with the speck in your friend's eye.”
We can be very quick to use a microscope to magnify the faults and foibles of other people, while pulling out the telescope to cause our own faults to seem minimal in comparison. Ouch!!
Jesus spoke harshly to his disciples and called anyone who does this a ‘hypocrite’. While we all know what a hypocrite is, I find it intriguing to see that the Greek word used for hypocrite attributes even more meaning than our English word. Hupokrites means one who answers, an interpreter, an actor, stage player, a dissembler, pretender, hypocrite.
When we use a microscope to examine the life of another, while using a telescope to examine our own life, Jesus says that we are a pretender and an actor. Actors make their living being someone who they are not and when we use a different standard by which to judge our lives in comparison to someone else’s life, we are not really who we pretend to be. I would suggest that when we use a microscope to examine the life of another, we are attempting to make another person seem less…a lesser Christian, a lesser husband, a lesser wife, a lesser employee….less than. At the same time, by using a telescope to cause our own faults to seem smaller, we are attempting to magnify ourselves and our supposed importance. We must see reality as it truly is and not as we would like it to be.
In Micah 6: 8, we are reminded that the Lord requires us “to act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” If we take this seriously we will cease using a microscope to examine the lives of others and instead extend grace and love to them by viewing them through a telescope. This telescopic view of others is just and merciful and humble and pleases the socks off of our Lord. Viewing others through a telescope will also fulfill 1 Corinthians 13 which tells us that love covers the faults of another, rather than exposing and magnifying them.
We are never more like Jesus than when we love others and show them mercy. So, what will your instrument of choice be as you interact with others….a microscope or a telescope?