You are currently browsing the monthly archive for January 2008.
You’ve probably heard the Lesson of the mayo Jar. It’s a an illustration of how to fill – or not to fill – our lives. Little pebbles represent the not-so-important and ‘extra’ things of life. Bigger rocks represent the necessary and important things. If you start filling the jar with all the ‘extras’ and unimportant things (small rocks), there won’t be room to add all the necessary things (big rocks). But if you start with the big rocks, they’ll all fit and you’ll be able to fit the smaller rocks around them – AND you’ll know when to stop adding more rocks! Moral: Prioritize your life by tending to the necessary and important things first, and then fill in with the other things in life as space allows.
Well, my life recently was like the mayo jar going one step farther. It was as if I had all my rocks in the jar and they all fit nicely, but then life started flowing and water started pouring into my jar. There was room at first for some water, but quickly my jar started to overflow.
During those weeks I was too busy and life kept giving me unexpected situations. Most of what was happening resulted in good outcomes, but caused challenges at the time. Overall I do what I love and love what I do, but I was reminded of one of my personal mottos: “Too much really is too much.”
So what do we do when life gets to be too much? First, I pray. I give it all to God and ask Him to show me where I need to make changes. What do I really need to do and what can be let go? I ask Him to be with me in all that I do and put my trust in Him to lead me and see me through. His way often differs from my way…and His way is always best.
I also give myself a day off or at least a little time off to do what I’m most longing to do. Sometimes it’s just to get things done at my computer. Other times it’s to get out of the house and do some shopping. Or it might be just to simply rest for a while.
How about you? Is something starting to seem like too much? If so, remember that too much really is too much. Step back and ask God to show you what you need to do differently. Allow yourself a little time to rest, reflect, or respond with something that makes your heart smile.
By keeping yourself in check and making yourself available for the Lord, you’ll make His heart smile, too. There’s only one thing we can’t get too much of, and that is time spent with the Lord!
Like Martin Luther King, I, too, have a dream. I dream of the day when we no longer discern color and race, for the day when people are just people.
Because of this personal longing, it bothers me to see growing separateness in our American Society. Minorities want equality and not to be treated differently, yet they, too, discriminate and exclude others with their African-American Beauty Contests, Latino Beauty Pageants, Latino Music Awards Shows, Hispanic radio and tv stations, and Black Expos, just to give a few examples. I don’t know if Black Expos are held everywhere, but they are in Indianapolis, IN. Black Expo is an annual, week-long event that is well-publicized offering a job fair, African-American entertainers, African-American speakers, and other things. Although anyone can attend, the job fair is for African-Americans. Others are excluded from consideration.
On a personal level I don’t care if the Blacks have an Expo in Indianapolis, IN, or if beauty pageants are held for specific races. However, as a matter of principle, I do. Minorities would be outraged if ‘white’ beauty pageants were held, and heaven help us all if a ‘white’ expo were to be held. I truly believe events like these could trigger another civil war. Therein lies the irony these events.
Minorities cry out for equal rights – to be seen for who they are on the inside, not the color of their skin on the outside. I’m with them in that. However, by hosting their own well-publicized events that exclude white people and other groups, they’re creating more of the same issues they’re trying to overcome – discrimination and societal desegregation.
I dream of a Presidential election when we evaluate the candidates on their merit, character, experience, faith/moral beliefs, and ability to do the job, not on their race. Are those who support Barak Obama doing so because they’ve evaluated him on his credentials, beliefs and abilities? Or just because he’s black? As a concerned citizen of the United States of America, I certainly hope his supporters are doing so because he’s got the right stuff and not just because of his color! Just as color is not a reason for discrimination, it’s also not a reason for automatic endorsement. Those voting because of color -whatever the color – are themselves committing discrimination.
A common ‘catch phrase’ these days is, “The power of one.” I dream of the day we live as one people under the power of The One -God, our Creator and Heavenly Father – who created each of us in His own likeness (Genesis 1:27) and teaches us to follow this, His greatest commandment: Love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength...and love your neighbor as yourself. (Mark 12:30) By following this one commandment that Jesus says is the greatest of all, we could bring such peace and harmony to the world, no longer seeing color, but seeing only man.
Finally, all of you be of one mind, having compassion for one another; love as brothers, be tenderhearted, be courteous. – 1 Peter 3:8
Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another. – 1 John 4:11
I recently found myself in a conversation about race and color with someone “of color” who grew up in the deep South. This woman is intelligent, well-educated, well-spoken, highly respected and revered by those who’ve been blessed by her presence in their lives. She is one of the most Christ-like persons I’ve ever known. I cherish her insights, wisdom and perspectives, and look forward to weekly meetings with her. The conversation we had was unexpected and unforgetable.
A question about race and color led her thoughts back in time to when she was a litle girl. She vividly remembers the thundering sound of horses’ hooves and the sight of faceless riders – men wearing white KKK robes and hoods. It was a terrifying experience for her. As the horses and Klansmen rushed past her, her eye caught the sight of a distinguishing tatoo on one of the men’s hand. That image stays with her today.
Her family was eventually driven away from the land and home they owned to seek safety from KKK threatened areas. She grew up, went to college, entered the field of education, and eventually become a principal in an underprivileged area where she worked hard to help black children and Hispanic children overlook color and learn to get along in peace.
I cannot imagine the terror my friend felt as klansmen threatened her and her family. Nor can I imagine what it’s like to be targeted or discriminated against because of the color of my skin. However, my eyes fill with tears when I think about the way ‘my people’ treated ‘her people’.
My friend is remarkable in many ways. When I look at her I admit that I do see color, but not the dark color of her skin. I see the colors of beauty and richness of spirit and soul, the colors that make her beautiful to every life she’s touched.
Who is wise and understanding among you? Let him show it by his good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. – James 3:13 (This verse speaks perfectly of the way my friend lives her life.)
May God continue to bless and be with my friend of beautiful colors. Amen.
Hello, friends. I’m sorry that it’s been a while since I’ve updated my sight. I write as I’m inspired. This site was God’s assignment, so I commit my work to Him and write when He leads me to do so. He’s had me tending other things lately. I’ve missed writing here and am glad to be back.
With it being the week to celebrate Martin Luther King, I want to write about color. Not color as an artist uses, but the color of man. I shared my thougths about color recently with my Bible study group and I’d like to share them with you, too.
I was raised in a middle to upper-middle class white community. In all 12 years of school, we only had three ‘black’ families, and each was only there for a short time. I was not raised to be racist, but I was taught that people of other races were different. Like many of my generation, I was taught to see color.
When my husband and I became parents we wanted to raise our children so as not to see color. We tried to avoid calling someone their ‘black’ friend or Asian friend. The only time color, race or ethnic background was mentioned was when necessary to describe who someone was or out of innocent curiosity as to their background. We’ve been pleased to see each of our sons interact the same with children of all colors and backgrounds.
Although I don’t know a lot about Martin Luther King, I know enough about him to say that I appreciate the work he did to encourage all of us to judge others on merit and character, not on skin color.
Inter-racial marriages: I was raised to believe that inter-racial marriage was wrong. Although I’ve had many friends of other races through the years, I’ve never been physically or romanticly attracted to them, so this was never a personal issue for me. The topic came up recently, though, when one of our friends admitted that he was struggling with the fact that his daughter’s boyfriend was black (she is white). Until they met him he sounded too good to be true, and our friend acknowledges that the boyfriend is everything a father could hope for on behalf of his daughter – except that he’s black.
As I considered his situaiton and the issue of inter-racial marriages, I thought about inter-racial adoptions. As a society we look down on inter-racial marriages, but we applaud those who adopt children of other races from impoverished or war-torn places in the world. If inter-racial marriage is wrong, then wouldn’t inter-racial adoptions be wrong, too? How could this be? I’ve known of many who felt led by God to adopt children of other races and who seemed to be blessed and rewarded by God for doing so.
I started mentally searching the Bible for insights to these issues. I recalled the commandments God gave the Israelites not to intermarry with other people. If they did they’d be cut off from their communities. Clearly the Bible states that intermarriage is wrong. Right? Not necessarily. Read the commandments about intermarriage more closely. God’s commandments clearly stated that His chosen people, the Israelites, were to avoid intermarriage with other peoples in surrounding areas – but not because of color. God was trying to set the Israelites apart from pagan people who would destroy the righteousness of the Israelites and pull them away from obedience to Him. Intermarriage wasn’t about race or color. Read further into the Bible and you’ll discover that when the Israelites returned to Jerusalem after being in exile in foreign lands, God called for the Israelites to live among many other peoples so that they could be a ‘light’ unto them. Not once have I read any passage that tells of God in the OT or Jesus in the NT commanding people not to intermarry because of color. In fact, Jesus and His apostles traveled far and wide reaching out to all they encountered, regardless of color, status, or religious/ethnic backgrounds. All they looked for in others was evidence of faith in God as our Heavenly Father and later, faith in Jesus as our Lord and Savior.
After making this interpretive distinction in my mind I came to realize that although some of us strives to not see color, we still see race, and that’s a shame because this, to me, is not what the Bible teaches.
There are probably many who disagree with what I just stated and who would argue those thoughts. That’s ok. I know what God has led my heart to feel and believe, and that’s what I’m going with. God wants me to love people of all races equally, seeing them by the quality of their hearts on the inside, not the color of their skin on the outside.
May the words of my mouth and the thoughts of my heart be pleasing to you, O Lord, my rock and redeemer. Psalm 19:14
I saw that someone visited my site with the search term “giving yourself to the Lord”. I hope and pray they found inspiration and answers or information they were looking for.
If you, too, are searching for information about giving yourself to the Lord, let me share these things with you:
Giving yourself to the Lord, from my perspective, is having the desire – for whatever reason – to offer your heart to Christ. It is the need to say to God, “I need you! I want you in my life!”. It is surrendering yourself to the all-knowing, ever present, eternally loving God who recognizes you as His child, and finds His greatest pleasure in welcoming you into His arms. This type of surrender is not a sign of weakness, giving up, or giving in. Quite the contrary! This type of surrender is empowering and uplifting!
There is no special ceremony or fancy words needed. God knows your heart. All you have to do is simply pray to Him to invite Him into your heart and to ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. You don’t even have to know the depth of what you’re asking. You just have to have the desire for the things that only God can give and guarantee.
Turning your heart over to God and trusting Him with your life is the greatest thing you can do for yourself and your loved ones.
If that is what you are seeking, imagine letting me take your hand and pray this with me:
Dear God, I need you in my life. I need to feel Your love in my heart. Please, Lord, take me into your arms. I surrender myself to You and offer myself to You. Amen.
I’m writing on behalf of a sister in Christ, Sonya Schweighardt. We were roommates at Proverbs 31’s She Speaks Conference last summer.
Sonya and I spent only that weekend together, but we shared a lot about our faith and the ways God was working in our lives, and have stayed in touch since. Sonya lives as faith-based of a life as is humanly possible. She is prayerful and obedient to her Lord and Savior. In return, God has given Sonya, her husband, and her three biological children HUGE hearts for those who are orphaned and need love, a home, and to know the Lord.
Sonya and her husband, Russell, have adopted four children nationally. While finalizing the adoptions here in the states, God put it on their hearts to adopt from Liberia. They now have three sons from Liberia and are trying desperately to bring them to their new home here in NC. However, the financial issues have been difficult, and just when they thought they had raised what they needed (and they’ve worked very hard to raise the money), a major contributor changed her mind on how much support she would give, leaving them with a large deficit of needed funds. They now need $7,600 to cover airfare and expenses.
I firmly believe that these adoptions are God’s will and that eventually things will work out – but it’s going to take help from many others to make it all happen.
Please go her web site ( www.respondinginfaith.wordpress.com ) to see pictures and to learn more about this situation and ask God if there’s something you can do to help them. Even offering your prayers would mean so much. Or if you’d like a summary with more specific details, send an email to me at ReneeMyers@carolina.rr.com and I’ll fwd to you the statement she prepared that better explains this situation and their need.
Dear God, I know it is your will for Sonya, Russell, and their family to bring these boys home. And I know the boys are SO anxious to come to their new home! Please help each of us to know what we can do to unite the boys with their new family. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.
For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. – Mark 9:41
Sometimes God calls us to action. Other times He calls us to rest.
It’s when we heed His callings, that our actions serve Him the best.
It’s my heart’s greatest desire, to follow Him as I’m led.
And He’s showing me now, that I can best serve, by putting others in service instead.
What greater honor could there be, than helping others as I go?
Seeing God bless them as He has blessed me, in an effort to help their faith grow.
Thank You, Lord, for allowing me to experience all that I have,
May Your favor with me continue to be as I joyfully follow Your Path.
God knows what He wants, and He knows what I need,
So I’ll do my best to live, love, and let God lead.
– Renee Myers 1-5-08