Acceptable Loss?

When is loss of life acceptable and meaningless? The world treats life as it is expendable. Your life an my life mean nothing to this world. Drugs both legal and illegal taking lives everyday. Babies thrown away through countless abortions. Lives lost to murders. Fatal car accidents caused by careless drivers who are to busy on their phone or devices. This list goes on and you know of ways lives are wasted or destroyed everyday.

You can heard it said in our government and big business the term acceptable loss. It is usually a financial loss when it comes to business but not always. The bean counters calculate the costs of lawsuits to be filed against the company. If the pay out to the law suits is less than making the costly changes that may prevent the loss of life then they proceed and subtract the legal costs from their profits.Then there are casualties of war. Innocent lives of no combatant people, the nonmilitary residents of a war zone who are injured or worse killed due to battles happening where they live.Once again you can hear the term acceptable loss.

The unfortunate fact that lives will be lost and people will be injured and killed everyday is going to happen. Even people who live in peaceful areas still face death. Most hope to pass from this world peacefully.  Yet I do not believe that any loss of life is acceptable and I believe God feels the same. If He did not He could have wiped us out  years ago before He sent His Son to pay the price for our sins. Yet He is merciful and patient. He is not slow as we count slowness but patient that all call to repentance.2 Peter 3:9.

As frustrating as waiting can be, I am grateful God is patient, loving and merciful or none of us would have a chance. Your life and the lives of those around you, and not just the lives of those you like, all life is precious to Jesus. He died for you and for me so that we can live and not perish. Life is a gift and we should treasure all life. No loss is acceptable.

Matthew 18:12-14

John 3:16

Romans 6:23

John 6:35

Criticism verses Loves

Do you realize how critical and judgmental people can be? I know I can be. It is not my intent and it is an area I am working on.I have to take the time to look in the mirror at myself or it is easy for me to argue and become less of a person than those who criticize or judge me.

Have you noticed that we all have some great reasons to pass judgment on each other? We are quick to criticize those in the world for how they live. We even turn on our brothers and sister in Christ. We spread hate and not His love by slandering each other and the we use the excuse of having wisdom and understanding and that we have to expose sin. Yet we do not deal with the sin in our own hearts.

1 Corinthians 13:1-3 (NKJV)  Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I have become sounding brass or a clanging cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries and all knowledge, and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned,[a]but have not love, it profits me nothing.

1 Corinthians 13:12(NKJV)  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part, but then I shall know just as I also am known.

The body of Christ is divided not because of the world but because of our own demanding ways and holding on to the small part of understanding we have. We cling to religion and legalism or we go as far as saying we do not have to obey the law.Jesus said ‘If you love me, you will keep my commands’ He added one command and that was for us to love one another as He loves us. I have been criticized and called a number of names and the sad thing is more than half of those who have done this call themselves Christians. Does this mean I am to hate them? Definitely not! /these people do so out of their own limited way of thinking and that I do not fit their mold of what they want me to be. I am definitely a unique individual. God has taken the broken parts of my life and transformed them into a working vessel He can use. My obedience is to God first. My life is to please God and I do this by living my life in love. I have learned that I will never learn everything there is to learn in my life on this earth. I know in part and I will spend my life seeking God and His instruction. Life can be compared to a puzzle, we all have a piece and we can only see what that piece shows. Then another comes and we are able to put our pieces together and the picture grows. This continues until all the pieces are brought together. What happens if a piece or more turns up missing? The picture cannot be complete. I like to think that Jesus holds those missing pieces waiting for us to work together so He can then finish what He started.

If you look only to find what you do not agree with you will find it every time. It is so easy to find the flaws and wrongs in others. It is even easier to justify your judgment. Remember this though Satan used scripture against Jesus when he was tempting Jesus in the wilderness.

Matthew 4:1-11 (NKJV)  Then Jesus was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. And when He had fasted forty days and forty nights, afterward He was hungry. Now when the tempter came to Him, he said, “If You are the Son of God, command that these stones become bread.”But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’”[a]Then the devil took Him up into the holy city, set Him on the pinnacle of the temple, and said to Him, “If You are the Son of God, throw Yourself down. For it is written:‘He shall give His angels charge over you,’and,‘In their hands they shall bear you up,Lest you dash your foot against a stone.’”[b]Jesus said to him, “It is written again, ‘You shall not tempt the Lord your God.’”[c]Again, the devil took Him up on an exceedingly high mountain, and showed Him all the kingdoms of the world and their glory. And he said to Him, “All these things I will give You if You will fall down and worship me.”10 Then Jesus said to him, “Away with you,[d] Satan! For it is written, ‘You shall worship the Lord your God, and Him only you shall serve.’”[e]11 Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him.

Here are a few things I am turning to work on my own self.

One learning to listen to ALL another has to say as well as how they are saying it because no two people communicate perfectly and even when they are saying the same thing due to lack of understanding and problems communicating they can still fall into a argument disagreeing over something they actually agree upon. If I interrupt or dismiss what they have to say before I have listen to all what they have to say. Another thing is by listening not just hearing I am validating the person and this does not mean I agree but accept that what they have to say is important to them

The next is acknowledging I do not know everything, that what I know is only a small part of all the wisdom God has. For His thoughts are not my thoughts and His ways are not my ways. I need a spirit of humility and compassion.

Another thing I contemplate is 1 Corinthians 13 Love does not demand its own way. God gave me free will,  who am I to demand another to see as I see and not allow them to have their own opinion.. What I mean is that I can say what I have to say and another can say what they have to say. If we do not agree I do not need to repeat myself or use every argument I can come up trying to force them into agreement with myself, or to make sure I have been heard. A term a friend taught me some years back is sand paper people and what is even funnier to me is that a majority of my friends fall into this category. The fact that we are friends is that we have learned that we do not have to agree but we respect each other and our different opinions. We all come from different backgrounds and have had different life experiences. Unfortunately the majority of us have lived through one form of abuse or another. How we have developed and healed has been different and at different times in our lives. I would be wrong to tell them they need to be where I am because I had already been there and done that and I know the right way, Yet I would be wrong. How I was hurt and how I was healed is not the same. Similar yes we have both been hurt by abuse but how my abuse effected me is going to be different than how they were affected. The time it takes me to heal is dependent on the degree of my wound and God’s timing.

God is our Judge, Jesus is our Advocate, the Holy Spirit is our Helper, and Satan is our accuser..I have to ask myself am I being any one of these.

Does this mean I do not call sin, sin?  Sin must be addressed and not swept under the rug but I have to ask myself am I trying to help another out of the ditch or am I standing above the one in the ditch kicking dirt down on them burying them with my judgment. Do I get down on my knees with an outstretched arm and help them up. Think about the parable of the ‘Good Samaritan’.

None of us are without sin and none of us is perfect but we hypocritically demand others be perfect and agree with us. Where is the love of Jesus in this. He did not choose the elite or highly educated. He chose men who were rough and ones who were even despised by their community. You even have women from backgrounds not acceptable by religious standards. Rahab the harlot,who hides and protects the spies Joshua sent into Canaan.Then Ruth the Moabite who becomes the grandmother of David. The woman who anoints Jesus is despised by those who are with Jesus. The Samaritan woman at the well would not have even been spoken to by the religious. She even tells Jesus if you knew who I am you would not speak to me. Jesus does speak to her and He speaks to her with love.

Man or woman. Adult or child. No matter your race or background  or opinion, Jesus loves you. Can we learn to love each other as He loves us or we continue to justify our actions no matter who we may hurt or keep from coming to know the love and mercy Jesus has for all of us.

 

Bible Study – Cracked Pots

Cracked Pots Bible Study

Cracked Pot

God uses cracked pots / A study in imperfections made perfect
Julie Sheppard

To the world a cracked pot is useless. It is broken and has no purpose. If you were to pour water into it, the water would flow through the cracks. So we can ask how can God use a cracked pot? We look at ourselves and we become our own worst critique. We see all that is wrong. We look at our past and see all of our mistakes. Yet God sees more.
God uses our imperfections and makes us perfect because He is perfect.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;
Job 14:4 Who can bring a clean thing out of an unclean? not one.
These 2 verses make me think that being a cracked pot is a good thing. Why? Because that I am cracked all that was wrong within me is released and poured out at the feet of my Savior Jesus. It also means that because I am empty He can use this broken vessel to let His love and grace flow not only into me but through me so that what He gives me pours into the lives of those I come in contact with.

Jesus Anointed by a Sinful Woman Matthew 7:37-39Ref — Mt 26:6-13; Mk 14:3-9; Jn 12:1-8 7:41,42Ref — Mt 18:23-34
36 Now one of the Pharisees invited Jesus to have dinner with him, so he went to the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.
37 When a woman who had lived a sinful life in that town learned that Jesus was eating at the Pharisee’s house, she brought an alabaster jar of perfume,
38 and as she stood behind him at his feet weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears. Then she wiped them with her hair, kissed them and poured perfume on them.
39 When the Pharisee who had invited him saw this, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet,1 he would know who is touching him and what kind of woman she is–that she is a sinner.”
40 Jesus answered him, “Simon, I have something to tell you.” “Tell me, teacher,” he said.
41 “Two men owed money to a certain moneylender. One owed him five hundred denarii,a and the other fifty.
42 Neither of them had the money to pay him back, so he canceled the debts of both. Now which of them will love him more?”
43 Simon replied, “I suppose the one who had the bigger debt canceled.” “You have judged correctly,” Jesus said.
44 Then he turned toward the woman and said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I came into your house. You did not give me any water for my feet,2 but she wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.
45 You did not give me a kiss,3 but this woman, from the time I entered, has not stopped kissing my feet.
46 You did not put oil on my head,4 but she has poured perfume on my feet.
47 Therefore, I tell you, her many sins have been forgiven–for she loved much. But he who has been forgiven little loves little.”
48 Then Jesus said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.”5
49 The other guests began to say among themselves, “Who is this who even forgives sins?”
50 Jesus said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you;6 go in peace.”7

Here in Matthew you see a woman who had a poor reputation that humbles herself at the feet of Jesus. The tears pouring from her eyes cleansing the feet of Jesus.

Mark 14:3-9
3 And being * in Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at meat , there came a woman having an alabaster box of ointment of spikenarda very precious; and she brake the box, and poured it on his head.
4 And there were some that had indignation within themselves, and said , Why * was this waste of the ointment made ?
5 For it might have been sold for more than three hundred pence, and have been given to the poor. And they murmured against her.
6 And Jesus said , Let her alone ; why trouble ye * her? she hath wrought a good work on me.
7 For ye have the poor with you always, and whensoever ye will ye may do them good: but me ye have not always.
8 She hath done what she * could : she is come aforehand to anoint my body to the burying.
9 Verily I say unto you, Wheresoever * this gospel shall be preached throughout the whole world, this also that she * hath done shall be spoken of for a memorial of her.

Mark writes that she broke the box of oil and poured it on the head of Jesus.
Both scriptures mention being poured, but do you see the importance of the box being broken?
It took breaking the box to release the oil it contained.
Now for those of us who have received Jesus as our Lord and Savior, He lives in us. It is His Light that shines through us. So He uses our imperfections to shine His Light of love through us to reach others who are lost and broken.

Can you think of ways that God uses your flaws to do something for His good?

He Is Not A Convenience Store

Who remembers when the convenience store 7 Eleven first changed it hours of operation from its hours of 7 am to 11 pm to being open 24 hours a day to seven days a week? The first store was actually in Austin Texas on a trial basis.This store made it convenient for customers who did not have time to shop during normal business hours. It changed how many larger stores operate today. Marketing is all about appealing to the customer. Make it easier for the customer and they will buy from you. Forget about the poor employee who has to work through the night and and holidays so they cannot spend time with their families. It’s all about making life convenient for the consumer.

Now stop and take a moment to look at your relationship with God. Yes He is available to you 24 hours a day and 7 days a week. Yet have you turned your relationship with Him into one of convenience? Do you go to Him only when it is convenient for your and to get only what you need at the moment? I have struggled with issues that have kept me from regular attendance at my church in the last year and it has bothered me a great deal. There has been transportation issues, having to work on days of service, and poor health. I have desperately fought to stay in contact and fellowship with other believers. My church began a bus ministry which has helped me get to church when I am not working and I am so grateful for this service. I have a few friends who come and Bible study with me in my home. Others who are kind enough to give me rides to doctors appointments and to the store when needed, and even occasionally treat me to a lunch or dinner. For these people I am so grateful that they give their time and care for me. For me God is not a convenience but a necessity. I would not have been blessed with such kind people in my life if not for Him. He provides for my every need. He deserves all of my time and my effort. Yet there have been times when I have been wrapped up in my problems and situations that I drifted away and barely gave Him a ‘Hello’, or ‘Thank You.’ I have even made excuses not to fellowship at times saying well there will be another service next week, its okay for me to take a break this week. I am grateful that He never takes a break from me. He is always there. Even when I did not acknowledge His presence. He patiently waited for me to turn to Him and give him my time and attention. I am sorry for all the times I treated Him like 7-Eleven store, and only gave Him time when I needed to purchase something for myself.

Too often it becomes easy to forget to make Jesus a priority in our lives because we know He is there when we need Him, we can forget He needs us too. He needs us serve the needs of the people. To gather together and fellowship, for whenever two or more are gathered in His name He is there with Him. Our relationship with Him is not one of convenience or one of just receiving. If you treated your husband or wife in this manner it would cause problems in your marriage. Why do we do this with God. He is our husband and our maker, and like any relationship it requires effort on both parts. He gave us everything isn’t it time to give Him all of us?

He is the Beginning and End of each of my days. I give to Him my praise and thanks.

Isaiah 44:6 (NKJV) “Thus says the Lord, the King of Israel, And his Redeemer, the Lord of hosts: ‘I am the First and I am the Last;Besides Me there is no God.

Isaiah 48:12 (NKJV)    12 “Listen to Me, O Jacob, And Israel, My called: I am He, I am the First,I am also the Last.

“I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning andthe End,” says the Lord, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

saying, “I am the Alpha and the Omega, the First andthe Last,” and, “What you see, write in a book and sendit to the seven churches which are in Asia: to Ephesus, to Smyrna, to Pergamos, to Thyatira, to Sardis, to Philadelphia, and to Laodicea.”

And He said to me, “It is done! I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give of the fountain of the water of life freely to him who thirsts.

I am the Alpha and the Omega, the Beginning and the End, the First and the Last.”