Life is full of the “ good, the bad and the ugly” along with many more expletives. But today I desire to focus on the fact that the first in that well-known quote is “the GOOD”. Life IS full of good – it is all around us if we look.
Unfortunately we are inundated with the negative. We hear and see it everywhere. The news visually captivates the worst of the worst, as it pours in through our televisions and the radio screams it in our ears, while we scroll through an endless social media feed.
Somewhere within our senses we become callused and obsessed with the bad – forgetting that there is good. That callousness easily fuels and changes our hearts. Soon we have become bitter and continually negative – everything is tainted by that bend in our thinking.
Philippians 4:8 Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (ESV)
Choosing to do as this scripture encourages, means a concerted effort to turn off that “bad and ugly” input – to look around and find the “good”. Join me today in an effort that will renew your life – an effort to find the “good” everywhere you look and go. Begin by speaking life to those around you and watch the transformation happen.
At our holiday meals the presence of mashed potatoes is required. With a minimum of 16 present at any one time the familiar phrase “pass the potatoes” is heard every couple of minutes throughout our meal.
One day as I was praying intently, I heard a little whisper from the Holy Spirit that said, “Pass the potatoes”. It was so out of place that I had to open my eyes, stop and audibly say “Huh?” This encounter and its revelation has changed my prayer life.
As I listened, He instructed, “I haven’t asked you to till the ground, plant the potatoes, water them, harvest them, clean them, peel them, boil them, mash them, and serve them; ONLY to pass the potatoes. I have done, and do all the rest”.
WOW – it is simply our joy to PRAY (“pass the potatoes”).
As we receive prayer requests, even those that are heavy and painful, it is only our place to take the bowl from those weak shaking hands into our own, and simply pass those requests (pass the potatoes) to the waiting hands of Jesus.
We are sitting with HIM at the table; we are placed in the gap between the need and our Lord. It is our privilege, our honor, our calling – to say YES and pass them to HIM.
We need not till the ground – preparing it for him. We need not plant the request. We need not water with continual begging. We need not clean, peel, boil and mash it into a correctly sounding request. We need not serve it to those around us – we simply need to receive it into our hands and move it with intent into HIS hands. Then our part is done.
The simplicity of this concept lifted self-induced pressure from my prayer life and brought freedom that allows me to continually lift requests to the throne – day and night.
WOW – it is simply our joy to PRAY (“pass the potatoes”).
I Thess 5:17. Pray without ceasing
Photo courtesy of graur razvan ionut @ freedigitalphotos.net
In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me. As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away.
I recently was given a birthday gift that shocked me to my core; a simple blank black notebook. It had been lovingly filled with comments from people who know me – those from high school, those from different states and different churches, those I have worked with as well as family, friends, kids and grand-kids. It was a very special gift. The next morning I picked it up with tea in hand and proceeded to enjoy this gift. Not expecting the impact it would have, I sat down to read this little book.
For the next hour I sat with Kleenex in hand as tears seeped down my checks, a few smiles and chuckles erupted and one or two outright sobs escaped my heart. I was confused – these descriptions didn’t match whom I see. It was like looking into a mirror and not recognizing the reflection looking back.
I set the book down – contemplating, meditating and asking God’s explanation of this dichotomy placed before me. Soon this question was stated as I prayed – “Ok, God what are you showing me?” “I don’t know this person at all, is this who I really am?”
I soon realized that this little book was a gift that was a glimpse of me through the eyes of Jesus. The person I have seen is so different. I have been looking at me with an out-dated blocked lens. Who I have become is no longer me, but Jesus in and through me.
As a Christian we always hope our light will shine and that the love of Jesus will permeate our lives but my thinking has been “it’s just me”, “it’s just who I am”.
“How do I see this person when I don’t know her”, I asked? His quiet loving response resounded in my heart like an explosion, as He whispered, “It’s just me – it isn’t you. It is my transformation as you have yielded time after time to my love”
In reality this transformation had begun many years ago. As I began knowing His love and sitting at His feet – through the good, the bad, the tears, the joys, His spirit began to change me. As I walked a journey that taught me to bring everything to His feet, to trust Him through every event that transpired, pieces of the old me were chiseled away. Over years of life, this faith has created and transformed me into who I never really saw. The emerging transformed person is no longer “just Judy” – but has begun to shine out as “just JESUS”.
Do I shine out Jesus every day? Nope – I have to lay my human thoughts, words, desires, and actions down every day. But I believe He has shown me a glimpse of me through an unexpected mirror held up in the hands of those in my life, and I am humbled by that possibility.
I Corinthians 13:12-13 For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then fact to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I have been fully known. So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love. (ESV))
We are made up of billions of microscopic cells. These cells make us who we are but sometimes they get infiltrated, mutate and change. Those changes forever change lives.
For the last several months I have been writing an article on breast cancer; I have researched, studied and cried profusely over stories of women who have battled this insidious disease. The stories are different, the procedures are different, and the outcomes are different, but three small words seem to jump out of every story – faith, hope and love; and the greatest of these inevitably is love.
In all of our lives we face life-impacting monsters that threaten to pull us under. During those times these same three words surface and are ultimately what allow us to stand through the storm – and the greatest of these words is love.
The greatest love ever given was the love poured out on the cross of Jesus Christ – that love was for us and now lives inside our cells. What we do with that love makes everything change. Just like infiltrating mutating cancer cells change lives forever – so much more does the love of Christ infiltrate and mutate our cells into ones that infuse our lives and the very atmosphere around us. Those changes are then transferred to others and bring strength, life and change.
Every story of struggle and pain is peppered with the only medicine that matters – Love. The simple out-pouring of everyday needs, given out of love is what makes the difference in the midst of the chaos. Those who step up – stand beside, lie beside, cry, laugh and walk through the fire are the ones that bring the medicine that matters. A love that saturates, strengthens, supports and brings relief; coming as unconditional love, surrounding the struggling warrior. Often it is only a hand-full of “love” carriers that stand beside and weather the storm – but that is all that is needed.
Not many “friends” make it. Unfortunately those who find themselves in the battle also find that those we thought would always be there for us are often times the first to go. Leaving us alone, hurting, broken and needy, but then just as surprising the unexpected people of love step in.
Our society has become one of “fixers” – we always have the answer, an opinion, direction and judgments for the one who is struggling. Often because we are uncomfortable – we give out those “fixes” instead of just being there and allowing the love within us to become the salve, which brings strength to rise up.
Within each of us is housed a quiet simple place where love resides. The noise and craziness of society often drowns it out. It is not hidden there for us but for the broken, hurting and needy. Step out of your comfort zone into a place where you become a dispenser of the greatest medicine ever; allow His love to bring healing, restoration and release into lives that are living in chaos. No opinions, No directions, No judgments – No fixes of any kind – simply love.
No matter what the outcome – Love truly is the only medicine that matters. It is the only eternal medicine. Allow the cellular level change of His infused love to permeate you and those around you by simply being His love to those your life touches every day.