I am going to make a horrible confession.
Are you ready?
I am not really interested in just being “religious.”
There, I said it.
I am, however, interested in a relationship with Jesus Christ, a REAL relationship !
I am wondering if there are some people out there who are not perfect. I would like to know if some of you have families who are not perfect, or kids who are not perfect … and maybe even downright rotters? What about parents, any imperfect parents? … nah …
I would like to know if there is anyone out there who loses their temper, or whines on occasion, or who (I’ll whisper this one) … cusses … rarely of course.
I want to know some people who battle uphill every day, who work in the real world, and who have NOT got it all together.
I am NOT asking for public confessions, baring your soul, or a session with Dr. Phil.
I am just wondering, however, if there is anyone out there like me?
I have some questions.
I take sin seriously. I take holiness seriously – but I fail.
Am I the only one who hates pretending?
Does anyone else struggle in their faith sometimes?
Do other people not understand things or have doubts in their Christian walk?
Is this normal at all? Or am I way off? Is normal allowed in the church? What about weird?
No I’m not.
Does anyone else want to just throw off the mask and be REAL?!
The God of the Universe knows who I am. He knows everything about me. He knows I am a little weird :). He sees me without my mask and He does not reject me. He loves me too much to let me stay the same though. He is gently working in me, shaping me, and moulding me. He has me cradled in His arms. He loves me in spite of my doubts, or how I’m doing or feeling, and He has a purpose for my life. Yours too !! Believe it ! This comforts me so much. He’s got a lot of work to do, but I have a personal relationship with Him … and guess what …. Jesus has already made arrangements which I have accepted and He is going to meet me in heaven – so there!
I suspect that there may be some other weird people there too. Coming?
So totally not.
Do you know anyone that you can feel safe with? Do you have that one person you can be real with? Do you have the courage to take off your mask? Do you have people in your life who can encourage you, not judge you, accept you, and pray for all your nasty bad habits?
No I wasn’t.
I dunno. Just wondering. What do ya think?
And we, who with unveiled faces all reflect the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his likeness with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit. 2 Corinthians 2:18. NIV
By Cyndi den Otter (C)
Copyright 2009 September 1 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission
One week-end I was snuggled in our hammock reading a book when I noticed a caterpillar, the fuzzy orange kind with the dark stripe, make his way purposefully across the lawn. He did not stop to nibble, he looked as if he had a deadline to meet. He approached the edge of the patio table and without hesitation proceeded up the leg. I called out and told him to get off my table but he had his own plan and continued on his way. I firmly told him that from my vantage point he was going way out of his way. I informed him that I could see the big picture and this would certainly put him behind schedule but he ignored my insight and proceeded up the table leg.
I continued reading and checked his progress from time to time. At one point he had made it all the way up the leg and was dangling from the lip of the table with half of his body swinging in the air. One small breeze would have taken him to Oz. Oddly, I found myself cheering him on. “Hang on little buddy.” After a few precarious seconds, he swung himself up onto the table and proceeded around the oval edge. I cheered.
Did he know he was going nowhere or was he just up for an adventure? Was he short on his wee little brain cells, was he just taking the scenic route, or was he running away? I told him there was no food up there (just a few traces of mustard) and that he was in danger of being snatched up by a predator as he definitely did not blend in with my table. I called out “trust me, I can see where you are going and you are goin’ nowhere.” He was oblivious to my rantings and advice. (My neighbours give me strange looks when they see me talking to myself but they are kind enough not to mention it).
Fast forward a chapter or so in my book, a cup of tea, and several laps around the table later, my new little friend made his way back to the exact spot he came onto the table and crawled back down and went on his way across the grass.
I puzzled over his little side trip. As I pondered this, I began to think of the many detours that I have taken in my life. How many times had I turned down a dead end or even a circuitous route ignoring God’s promptings otherwise. Sometimes God didn’t make sense to me so I followed my own plan. Many times I had found myself in precarious situations hanging on for dear life exposed to predators and all sorts of dangers that I could have prevented had I just trusted God. How many times had I gone a long way out of my way because I was sure that this was the thing to do.
We choose those dead end and sometimes destructive paths but God is always there waiting for us to return. In fact, God is so gracious that He doesn’t abandon us on those long wandering journeys to nowhere but stays with us, gently nudging us back, calling out encouragement “hang on buddy,” waiting with His arms outstretched to receive us when we finally crawl back to Him. He cheers when we come back.
These days I check in with God before I head out because He sees the big picture. He has a map for our whole lives as believers if we will just trust Him to navigate. We have a God who is crazy about us, a God who is good, and a God that can be trusted. Hang on to His hand and let Him lead. He has a bigger and better view of our lives and He is faithful to us His children.
Proverbs 3: 5-6 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight. (NIV)
By Cyndi den Otter (C)
Copyright 2009 June 4 Cyndi den Otter – All Rights Reserved May be used with author’s permission
I want to share this with you because it had a huge impact on me. I found this on the internet in several places with no author’s name. I wish I knew who wrote it so I could acknowledge them. I find myself reading this from time to time because it puts things in perspective for me. I am truly blessed and could add so many things to the bottom of the last list. I try to think of something every day to be thankful for no matter how my day is going.
If we could shrink the earth’s population to a village of precisely 100 people with all the existing human ratios remaining the same, it would look something like the following. There would be:
14 from the Western Hemisphere, both north and south
8 would be Africans
52 would be female
48 would be male
70 would be non-white
30 would be white
70 would be non-Christian
30 would be Christian
6 people would possess 59% of the entire world’s wealth, and all
6 would be from the United States
80 would live in substandard housing
70 would be unable to read
50 would suffer from malnutrition
One would be near death
One would be near birth
One (yes, only 1) would have a college education
One (yes, only 1) would own a computer
When one considers our world from such a compressed perspective, the need for acceptance, understanding, and education becomes glaringly apparent.
If you have food in the refrigerator, clothes on your back, a roof overhead, and a place to sleep, you are richer than 75% of this world.
If you woke up this morning with more health than illness, you are more blessed than the million who will not survive this week.
If you have money in the bank, in your wallet, and spare change in a dish someplace, you are among the top 8% of the world’s wealthy.
If you can attend a church meeting without fear of harassment, arrest, torture, or death, you are more blessed than 3 billion people in the world.
If you have never experienced the danger of battle, the loneliness of imprisonment, the agony of torture, or the pangs of starvation, you are ahead of 500 million people in the world.
If your parents are still alive and still married, you are very rare, even in the United States.
If you can hold someone’s hand, hug them, or even touch them on the shoulder, you are blessed because you can offer healing touch.
If you hold up your head with a smile on your face and are truly thankful, you are blessed because the majority can, but most do not.
If you can read this message, you have just received a double blessing in that someone was thinking of you, and furthermore, you are more blessed than over 2 billion people in the world who cannot read at all.
As you read this and are reminded how life is in the rest of the world, remember just how blessed you really are!