Wednesday, April 30, 2014

INSPIRING WORDS

Recently I read a quote by Mother Teresa that a friend of mine, Gail Tiffany, posted on Facebook. I'll get to the actual quote later, but at this moment I would like to paraphrase and elaborate her words and then show Scripture that accompanies that thought to encourage my brothers and sisters in Christ to action.

First thought is this world is getting more and more irrational and inconsiderate. With the whole spectrum of people not thinking things through and not caring enough to even give their best - how are we to respond? Forgive. For if you forgive men when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins. - Matthew 6:14-15

Secondly, many have the mind-set that everything positive that comes their way is just-to-good-to-be-true. These individuals have a nasty habit of reading-between-the-lines when there is nothing to read. They are conspiracy minded, not very trusting people who always see a bottom-line mentality for both parties no matter what the subject. These people need every ounce of kindness we can give them. Therefore, as God's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. - Colossians 3:12

Thirdly, we all know of people in the world who desire to get something for nothing and they target you as their prey for their something (i.e. money, information, property, etc..). These individuals are cheaters. Don't allow these individuals to pour water on your zeal for being honest. Continue to be honest in your life. We need to be honest but clever with our responses to these people. Jesus challenged His disciples in Matthew 10:16 I am sending you out like sheep among wolves. Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.

Fourth, when Christians really grasp an authentic and intimate relationship with Christ Jesus then they can't help but be happy. Jesus calls it "Blessed", but the word is translated "happy" from the original Greek, in His sermon on the mount, The Beatitudes. The world is jealous of this happiness and tries it's best to reproduce it in a zillion different ways, but with no success. Matthew 5:3-12
Blessed [or happy] are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. 
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. 
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. 
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. 
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. 
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. 
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 
Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
So, in the face of jealousy over your happiness in the Lord, continue to be happy and/or blessed!

Fifth, if I die before the Lord comes again, I probably will be forgotten fairly quickly. James 4:14 calls the duration of our life here on earth nothing but a mist that appears for a little while and then vanishes. What remains behind will be the relationships I established and my long-lasting, meaningful accomplishments. To this end Mother Teresa encourages, as I do through Scripture, do good in the face of being forgotten.
  • But love your enemies, do good to them, and lend to them without expecting to get anything back. Then your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High, because he is kind to the ungrateful and wicked.  - Luke 6:35
  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. - Romans 12:21
  • Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers. - Galatians 6:10
  • For we are God's workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. - Ephesians 2:10
  • Command them to do good, to be rich in good deeds, and to be generous and willing to share. - 1 Timothy 6:18
  • And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased. - Hebrews 13:16
  • Anyone, then, who knows the good he ought to do and doesn't do it, sins. - James 4:17
Sixth, there is a saying - "There is always a bigger fish". This can mean that the "bigger fish" was the pursuer in a situation or the hunted in a different scenario. Giving your best in any circumstance is commendable, but the world is going to say, "So what, who can do this better?"  - every time. This does not mean we stop putting our-best-foot-forward. No, the perspective in all of our doing is - The Who (and not the band). 

Who are you forgiving for? Who are you being kind for? Who are you being honest for? Who are you being happy for? Who are you doing good for? Who are you giving your best for? 

I think and believe the answer is a tandem answer - God and you. For a healthy and mature relationship with God and others, Christians need to be - among other things - forgiving, kind, honest, happy, productive, and sold out. All of this to God first and then themselves. If this is established within the Christian's relationship with God then all these things will have a natural outward flow. It all starts with you and God.

"People are often unreasonable and self-centered. Forgive them anyway.
If you are kind, people may accuse you of ulterior motives. Be kind anyway.
If you are honest, people may cheat you. Be honest anyway.
If you find happiness, people may be jealous. Be happy anyway.
The good you do today may be forgotten tomorrow. Do good anyway.
Give the world the best you have and it may never be enough. Give your best anyway.
For you see, in the end, it is between you and God. It was never between you and them anyway."
-Mother Teresa