Active Expectation

Life is full of expectations. We wonder about jobs, kids, money, college, and just about everything else in our lives. Expectation is a fact of life. We are hard-wired with a curiosity that makes us wonder about the unknown in a way that makes expectations a part of who we are.

God wants us to wait for the return if Jesus with expectation, but we are not to be docile. Waiting with expectation is an active thing. WE are to anticipate what needs to be done to follow the will of God, and do it. We pray and continue to work to reach the world and share the love of God. We do not have time to sit and meditate. We must move and ast as God wills or evil wins. Every bit of lazy ness in the children of God gives a little ground.

I know that this may sound a bit different form what you are used to hearing. Christianity is a lot more than just singing, praying, and fellowship in church on Sunday. We have to feed the hungry and cloth the poor. This is active waiting, active expectation. This is how we are proof of God’s love.

I challenge you to wait actively with excepectation of the coming of God’s kingdom.

 

No Tactics Here Please

I was thinking about tactics. The tactics we use with each other. How we talk to, react to and respond to each other can be tricky. With our friends and family we must be careful not to hurt anyone’s feelings. In business, we may have to be slick and savvy in the tactics we use to seal a big deal or contract. Is there any use for tactics in Christianity? Some may say yes. Churches use tactics to get people to give money and time. Teachers use tactics to share the Gospel in ways that others can understand it.

I do not think that there should be abrasive tactics in Christianity. If you stand on truth and the word of God, you do not need tactics. The truth of God stands on its own. God doesn’t’ need us to twist His truth to get our point across to others. In fact, that will very easily push them further from God. The only way that tactics may come in to play is when you are trying to convince someone that the truth is real or that God exists. You may have to choose your words carefully, but Christianity is tainted by those who influence people into buying in to their version of truth by strong armed tactics.

The best way to get people to believe you is to be honest and speak the truth without sugar coating it with ideals that are dreamy or glazing it with ultimatums of fear. To me, that is not Christianity but manipulation.

Tactics have their place in your life but not when it comes to being an ambassador for God. Stand on truth; stand on promises and the word of God. You will get further in life and you will gain the respect of people, even people who disagree with you. They may not want to believe the truth you are speaking but they will respect the fact that you were honest. No one likes to be manipulated or forced in to a situation by the use of slippery tactics.

 

Unexpected Happiness

Isn’t it amazing how we have come accustom to believing what we hear on television, in particular what we hear on the news? Yesterday we heard, “thunder storms, some possibly over 1 inch.” When we woke up the weather was dreary, but it was not too bad. About 9:00 AM,  I went to church for a prayer group which lasted about two hours, then I went to lunch with a friend. It was wet and the rain was heavy but nothing unusual for a summer afternoon in Florida.

When I left the restaurant and started to head home, which is about ten miles to the west and clear across town, the roads were flooded. Now when I say flooded I mean, cars floating, cruise ships floating by, flooded. I watched the news before I left the house and I did not hear that short chubby weather guy say a thing about flooding or even possible flooding. I trusted that when he said typical summer thunderstorm and possible lightning that would be what I would see on my morning sashay across town.

My normal route was completely impassable. I drive a truck and I thought I could make it through some of the areas that the small cars were drifting in until I saw a truck taller than mine floating. I had to find a new way home. My habitual way would not work. It was difficult and I was not so sure that I would make it. After some very careful navigation on my part I made the 30 min trip home in over an hour. I was so relieved to see that my house was not one of those that were under water like the houses I had seen as I was swimming home. I turned on the television and the same weather guy was saying things like “unexpected”, “unforseen”, and “it just snuck up on us”. We ended up breaking records with 15 inches of rainfall in 24 hours and the emergency response center issued a state of emergency.

As I kept watching the video and pictures sent in by viewers, I saw amazing things. Familiar places unrecognizable and buried under tons of water, but I saw something else. People were helping their neighbors and strangers. Folks drying off other people and dogs. Kids in swimming suits playing in the lakes, middle age people on air floats enjoying the lazy street rivers, and senior citizens in lawn chairs enjoying their new water front property.Neighbors helping each other and having fun doing it.  Happiness in the chaos.

Unexpected chaos happens in our lives all the time. We are cruising right along in life and then life throws as a curve ball, or an unforseen rain storm. The trick is that when we have those sort of crazy things interrupt our normal lives, we find happiness in the chaos. We find some thing to hold on to, one hope. We have to look for that one thing that we can say, “Ok, God has this and I am going to be OK.” We have to help each other and find a new way to navigate the unexpected. The rain of life will come and it will flood where we were expecting to go, but we need to trust God and work our way through it finding happiness along the way.

Helping Others is Good For You

When is it a good time to help others? Anytime,that is the easy answer, but we can do better than that.

Sitting across from the offering box, he was observing how the crowd tossed money in for the collection. Many of the rich were making large contributions. One poor widow came up and put in two small coins—a measly two cents. Jesus called his disciples over and said, “The truth is that this poor widow gave more to the collection than all the others put together. All the others gave what they’ll never miss; she gave extravagantly what she couldn’t afford—she gave her all.” Mark 21:41 (MSG)

Helping others and giving comes in many forms. It isn’t just the weekly handful of spare dollars tossed in the passed plate at church. It isn’t the left overs, not wanted items or just a few minutes of time in passing. Helping other is giving what they need to them when they need it not giving when you can spare it  or when it is convenient for you.

We do not have to give money. We can give things, food, time or advice. The point is to help others when they need it not when we are doing well enough to spare some food, time or money. We should give when it hurts us to give. Helping others out of our need, when we need help ourselves, that my friend, is faith.

How many of us really do that? Have you ever given you last two coins to someone who needed it? Have you ever taken clothes that you like out of your closet, not just the worn out old things,  and given them to the poor? What about giving your last can of some thing from your pantry? When have you sat and talked with someone who was sad, who needed comfort and advice when you knew it would make you late for an important appointment or late for work? When have you taken off work to help someone who just needed your time?

Heres another aspect of helping others, get ready this one may sting a bit, help others every time you see someone in need, do not wait for them to ask for help. How many times have you passed by someone who you knew needed help of some sort because it was not what you felt like doing? Passed a crying person? Ignored the call for food donations? Passed a homeless guy because he might go buy a beer?

It’s really this simple, when you help others it isn’t about them it is about you being faithful to God.

Mathew 25:43 says ” I was hungry and you gave me no meal,    I was thirsty and you gave me no drink,    I was homeless and you gave me no bed,    I was shivering and you gave me no clothes,    Sick and in prison, and you never visited. ” …..then verse 45 says, “‘I’m telling the solemn truth: Whenever you failed to do one of these things to someone who was being overlooked or ignored, that was me—you failed to do it to me.”

I don’t know about you but I do not want to stand in front of Jesus and have to answer to Him about why I did not help one of these, why did I ignore the needy and why did I ignore Him? Doing the right thing is always the right thing. Help others when you see need every time.  You will be blessed for obeying God and doing His will.