You have been told, O man, what is good, and what the Lord requires of you: Only to do the right and to love goodness and to walk humbly
with our God. Micah 6:8
Well then, there you have it! The Prophet Micah summed it all up in
one brief verse of Scripture! Do the right thing, love things that are good and walk humbly with God. So I’m wondering; if it’s that simple how do I manage to mess it up so often? I think the place where I get all snarled up is trying to make things more complicated than they need to be. I can be the “Queen of Overthinking” and it just leads me farther away from the honest, simple root of my purpose…anybody with me there? (I am seriously hoping there are readers out there nodding their head in agreement!)
Let’s see if I can back up the truck and do a better job with these three simple expectations. Step one: “do the right”. I guess I should ask myself, the “right” for whom? More often than I probably even recognize, I’m interested in doing what’s “right” for me! I have a tendency to do “Christian good” when it’s convenient for me. I’m good at helping and praying and doing nice things when it fits in the schedule but what about when I really have to go out of my way to do good? I also have to stop and ask myself about how many times I don’t “do right”. What if I know there is a conversation going on that I should keep my nose out of but I just have to
listen in anyway, what do I do if the talk turns into gossip, how do I “do
right” and get out of that conversation? I suppose this simple directive should keep me out of those conversations in the first place.
Step two: “Love goodness” I don’t think Micah was simply referring to lovely flowers and other good things found in creation. I think he was challenging us to something bigger. Here’s the deal with loving goodness…it isn’t always fashionable, popular or common. Loving goodness requires us to love without judgment. It means we look for the good and Christ like even in people who look very different than us. We can be pretty narrow in our description of what is “normal” in this society and turn a squinty eye at things that diverge from that vision. I believe the greatest sound and sight EVER is a child! They are the ultimate “Good” created by God. Not long ago I was visiting with a family who was joyfully announcing the upcoming birth of their 7th child and I was so excited for them and honored to share in their joy. That baby will be the most loved child on the planet! As I walked away from the family I overheard two women speaking critically about them and one woman said, “How do they think they are ever going to give that many children what they need? She doesn't even work so they are doomed to a life of hand-me-downs and Wal-Mart shoes.” I wanted to speak but the tears stung in my eyes and my heart hurt so bad I couldn’t even talk. if I had that moment to re-live I would ask when Nike’s and designer clothes became more important in forming Children of God than the overflowing love of a family. Loving goodness means having great compassion and respect for EVERYTHING God created and doing everything in our power to defend it without casting worldly judgments.
Step three: “Walk humbly with our God” The real trick with this one is to realize we can’t be in charge! It really should read, “Walk humbly BEHIND God.” We might do a better job if we remembered we can’t be first in our Christian walk, God Himself must occupy that spot. Walking humbly means coming to terms with the fact that we are NOTHING without HIM and the more we give Him credit for, the more He blesses us. God doesn’t need our approval or our praise in order to build Him up and support His ego or self-esteem…He needs praise and adoration from us so we can practice humility and submission to His will for our lives.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one of the three ideas from this reading from Micah and put it to work this week. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you choose the one your soul needs most!
Blessings on your day!
For where two or three are gathered in my name, there am I among them.” Matthew 18:20
Every now and again I hear something that just grabs me right by
the ear drums! I heard a speaker named Fr. Steve Mattson recently who was talking about the need for more prayer and he made some excellent points and had some great stories. He is a terrific speaker so I was pretty tuned in but then he said something that made my jaw drop. He said, “People are sleeping together before they are praying together!” He went on to say that praying with another person is such an intimate thing to do many people find it too uncomfortable. My head just couldn’t let go of that thought! After I had puddled around with that idea for a few weeks another one came to mind…if prayer was what people in a relationship did first, how would that change the relationship and even more important, how would it change the culture? It’s been weeks since I heard Fr. Mattson talk and I’m still thinking about it!
As a wife and mother, I am constantly examining the way I fulfill my roles. More often than not, I’m asking for forgiveness for not getting things right with my husband and my kids. In my search to do my job better, I often watch and listen to women I respect. I like to know how others do it well. I like to talk to moms and dads who have raised great kids and couples who have beautiful loving marriages. I want to know how to get it right! In all of my conversations I have made an important discovery. The folks who seem to “get it right” are the ones who are people of prayer. Christ is at the center of their marriage, their friendships and their parenting and it sticks out all over!
I saw a billboard once that said “Prayer changes everything!” I suppose that is a completely true and powerful statement. If any of us have complained about the decline in the morals and ethics of our society, I think it’s fair to say we know the antidote…prayer. Many of you reading this are great prayer warriors. We are great at praying for others in need but how are we at praying WITH others? If it’s about as comfortable for you as burlap underwear then there is only one thing to do about that…practice! I’m not asking you to stand on the corner and pray out loud for an hour, I’m asking you to find one person you can pray with. If we pray with others, we can be seen as a person of prayer and boy could the world use more of those. If someone you know is having a rough day, ask them if they would like to pray for a minute. You can pray together a familiar prayer like the Lord’s Prayer or maybe share a scripture verse…or it can be as simple as “Lord, please bless my friend who is struggling today.” The power of that simple act will overwhelm you! When people see the power of prayer in action, they become people of prayer themselves and it will have a ripple effect. We have no problem playing cards or games together, sharing stories about the people we work with, or discussing our favorite sport or recipe until we’re blue in the face but none of those things have potential to re-direct a life toward Christ like sharing prayer does. If we want the morals and behavior of a culture to shift, we have to start the shift ourselves and it starts one shared prayer at a time.
A Seed To Plant: Pick one person to pray with this week. For extra credit, make it someone you are really close to…a teenager would be a double bonus. Even if they decline the invitation, a powerful message has been
Blessings on your day!
Peace I leave with you; my peace I give to you. John 14:27
When I was a teenager my dad had a blue 1950 Chevy pickup that we
called the “Blue Goose.” My brothers thought it was cool; it had a rounded cab, a fifth window and the gear shift on the steering column. It was a classic. I however had a whole different opinion. The rule at our house was; before you could drive a car with an automatic transmission, you had to learn to drive the truck. If you had a finesse for driving a stick you didn’t have too much trouble with the truck but if you weren’t patient and didn’t do everything right, the gears would get stuck, which required putting on the park brake and getting out to open the hood and fiddle with something under the hood to “un-stick” it. As a teenage girl on the edge of driving I used to have nightmares about that darn truck! I didn’t want to be the one holding up a line of traffic at the stop sign because I had to fiddle under the hood to make the truck go again. As I was beginning to prepare myself for going off to college on a bike, a wonderful thing happened. My high school English teacher who was also my brother’s basketball coach stopped over one day after school. I remember answering the door in a panic wondering what I could have done at school to warrant a visit from a high school teacher!
I quickly came to my senses and realized the reason he was at our door had to be because of something Jim did…not me! As it turned out, the visit had nothing to do with us, but the outcome of that visit impacted my life in a fabulous way! Mr. Cannon came that day to see if dad would be interested in selling the “Blue Goose”. Much to my life-altering delight, dad said yes and I was saved from the horror of the stuck gears!
Looking back, I’m still thankful that I was saved from the “Blue Goose!” I panicked at the thought of being “stuck” and not knowing how to get “un-stuck” so I could move on. I think sometimes in our daily life we can get stuck the same way I was afraid that old pickup was going to. We can become stuck in our worry, and our vision of the future and in our fear of the unknown. Mr. Cannon was the man who saved me from that particular worry, but when the relief wore off, I probably let myself entertain another worry in its place. I’m sure I probably let myself get “stuck” in a whole different spot.
I read the other day that humans are the only creatures God made
with the ability to anticipate future events. As you might imagine, that is both a blessing and a curse! Some days I’m grateful for that ability and other days I think I’d rather be a puppy, bounding around without a care beyond the current moment. After some prayer and thought on the topic, here’s what I came up with…God gave us that ability so we could trust Him.
It is through trusting Him that we grow closer to Him and His will for our life. How often though do we get “stuck” in our worry? When the “Blue Goose” came to mind, I realized there are a million times in my life that I got “stuck” in my worry and it was all such an enormous waste of time and energy. Sarah Young, in her book Jesus Calling, reminds us to gently call out the name of Jesus when we feel our gears getting stuck in worry or dwelling on future events. He’s there in an instant when we call His name and expectantly wait for Him to deliver us from our worry with His sweet peace. We have two choices, we can either enjoy the presence of worries or we can enjoy the presence of Christ working through our worries and stuck gears. Because we have the ability to anticipate future events, worry is an occasional “given” however, the way we work through the worry is important and its the perfect way to build trust in the Father who adores us. Don’t pray for a day free from worry; thank Him for the worry and then pray for the strength and trust to call out the name of Jesus so He can un-stick your gears allowing you to move forward and come closer to Him.
A Seed To Plant: Write down all the things that are making you feel “stuck”. Hold that list in your hands and say, “God, Father of Peace, please take the worry of ______from my life and replace it with your peace allowing me to trust You more.”
Blessings on your day!
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