Monday, April 7, 2014

"...You ought to forgive and comfort him, so that he will not be overwhelmed by excessive sorrow. I urge you, therefore, to reaffirm your love for him" (2 Corinthians 2:7).

Sorrow can make one look through a dark glass when he or she is swallowed up in anguish. One struggling with somber thoughts is unable to "behold as in a glass the glory of the Lord" (2 Corinthians 3:18). This particular passage deals with a backslider, but this wise advice to realize and reassure our love for a troubled one is true for any who need mercy and solace and restoration to the family or community. We all need reaffirmation at times.

Love is encouragement: "Let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds" (Hebrews 10:24). It is possible to look beyond what people are and have done, and love them for what they can be. Love then becomes redemptive and rejuvenating. It is said that Michelangelo found a piece of rough marble that had been cast aside as useless. He was told that no good thing could come from it, but Michelangelo said, "It is not useless. Send it to my studio. There is an angel imprisoned within it, and I must set it free." We can help release the distressed caught in the hard marble of life through showing them God's forgiveness and love.

Jesus went about freeing angels from within seemingly useless or sinful human beings finally released by His love: Zacchaeus the tax collector, Mary Magdalene, Saul to become Paul, the thief on the cross, the woman of Samaria and us! Jesus sees what we can be and He treats us accordingly. And He asks that we do the same for others: treat them as they can be, through His transforming grace.
Pat Nordman ©

Let's cut the frets!

“Do not fret because of evil men…”; “Do not fret when men succeed in their evil ways…” (Psalm 37:1,7).
   It would be so easy today to fret over just about everything. I think the secret to cutting out the frets is to acknowledge our fortunes and blessings - with a bit of thought, we have many. We dwell too much on our misfortunes and what we don’t have. I realize the grass sometimes looks greener next door, but we have no idea what the upkeep costs. Years ago I was talking with one of our richer relatives and she informed me that she had to spend a fortune insuring her furs and jewelry. I found myself thanking God that I didn’t have that problem! I’ve never understood the mindset behind purchasing millions of dollars worth of jewelry only to wear fakes for fear of them being stolen.
I’d like to share the following jewel:
“There is one sin which is everywhere underestimated and quite too often much overlooked in valuation of character. It is the sin of fretting. It is as common as air, as speech; so common that unless it rises above its usual monotone, we do not even observe it. Watch an ordinary coming together of people, and see how many minutes it will be before somebody frets; that is, making more or less complaining statements of something or other which most probably, every one in the room, or in the car, or on the street corner, it may be, knew before, and which probably nobody can help. Why say anything about it? It is cold, it is hot, it is dry; somebody has broken an appointment, ill-cooked a meal; stupidity or bad faith has resulted in discomfort. There are plenty of things to fret about. It is simply astonishing how much annoyance may be found in the course of every day's living, even at the simplest, if one only keeps a sharp eye out on that side of things. Even Holy writ says we are prone to trouble ‘as sparks fly upward.’ But even to the sparks that fly upward, in the blackest smoke, there is a blue sky above, and the less time they waste on the road, the sooner they will reach it. Fretting is all ‘time wasted on the road.’” Herald of Peace.
   Fretting is a sin first against God because we tell Him that He doesn’t know what is best for us; second, it is a sin against others, for it robs them of their peace of mind and happiness. third, we sin against ourselves because we destroy our own peace of mind, and we harbor bitterness and fault-finding.
   One of Cromwell’s friends was a fretting Christian, to whom everything went wrong. On a certain occasion, when unusually fretful, his sensible servant said, “Master, don’t you think that God governed the world very well before you came into it? Yes; but why do you ask? Master, don’t you think God will govern the world very well after you go out of it?” “Of course I do.” “Well, then, can’t you trust Him to govern it for the little time you are in it?”
   So let us trust that God will govern us and our world for the short time we are in it!