Tuesday, November 8, 2011

I Want To Be Like Jesus - REALLY NOW?

To be like you in the quiet of my heart.
To be like you in the deepest private part.
To struggle with my humanity yet to cling to purity
Is to be, to be like you.

Recently I have been privileged to view DVD's entitled 'Lessons I Learned In The Dark by Jennifer Rothschild and also to hear her sing at the end of each presentation a composition that I believe she wrote. Above is the chorus from last week's DVD. Jennifer is a lovely lady who lost her sight totally when she was 16 years old. She is a true testimony to God using us where we are. '

I was deeply enthralled with her song last week, focusing on every word and admiring her sweet singing voice when I was smitten with the words in the title of this piece. Was it God speaking to me to remind me that being like Jesus isn't some nice walk in the park set to music.

I was born in my Grandmother's house on Manitoulin Island. I don't remember anything about it nor did I have a lot of choices about it. But if I had would I have said 'No Thank You' to the nice warm house, snd chosen rather to be born in Grandpa's cold barn. Would I or would you choose to live the way Jesus lived? What did He do for clothes? Did he take a garment from His carpenter shop home and make it last for the next three years? I am sure He never had the luxury of checking His wardrobe and deciding which one of the many garments there He would don for that day? What about food? Where did it come from? Who cooked it for Him? Could He choose to eat on any given day the things He liked the best? Somehow, I don't think so. And then there is the going without food entirely for 40 days and nights. Is that something you are dying to try? I know someone who did just that lately and one of the most difficult parts of the process was not sharing in family meals.

Which leads us to the loneliness that Jesus must have felt many times. He was rejected by those closest to Him, misunderstood by family. Loneliness is an insidious thing affecting every part of who you are - both physically and emotionally. And the abuse - the beatings, the spit in His face, the ridicule, the cruel death. Did I hear you say you want to be just like Him? And even though He went through all that perfectly and conquered death to boot, no one was there to celebrate as He left the tomb. Even that He did alone.

And then we come to His principles. That would be a much easier path to trod, right, practicing His principles? Perhaps we need to give that some serious thought. How about 'turning the other cheek', or 'blessed are the persecuted'. What about 'do unto others' and 'it is more blessed to give than to receive'. When is the last time you got really mad at someone and it rattled around in your head for days. Is your heart a home for bitterness and resentment or is it full of forgiveness and kindness?

Being like Jesus is hard, hard stuff! It is not, at some point, doing what someone tells us we need to do to connect ourselves to Him, doing it and then going on our way living pretty much as we would live if we had never met Him. But He promised us two great things if we try to be like Him as best we can - rest and peace. The greatest incentive for me to try to be like Him is that I see all around me when we are that life works, when we are not life falls apart. That is true for us individually, it is true for our churches, homes, schools, countries and so on. Based on what we see around us in all the aforementioned theatres of life, we had all better make a concentrated effort to be more like Jesus. And that starts with me!

Saturday, October 29, 2011


Three blind mice, three blind mice,
See how they run, see how they run.
They all took after the farmer’s wife,
She cut off their tails with a carving knife,
Did you ever hear such a tale in your life,
As three blind mice.

Now why would I wake up this morning with this ditty playing around in the recesses of my mind, a ditty that was common to hear quoted by Daddy or Mom in my childhood but one which I doubt I have thought of in over 30 years. As I pondered this some interesting thoughts came to my mind. I wondered why the blind mice ever got close to the farmer’s wife in the first place. Did the warmth of her farm kitchen stove lure them or was it the smell of what she might have been cooking on that stove? Or was she the one who saw them and lured them to her side with big hunks of cheese with the express purpose of doing them in. I doubt that any of these ramblings are too important in the grand scheme of things, but as my mind wandered I couldn’t help but think how like those mice we humans are.

The Bible tells us that God’s Spirit bears witness with our spirit that we are His child. This says to me that we know instinctively when our thoughts, our words, our actions are not those produced by God’s Spirit within us. But how often do we rush into danger to satisfy some physical urge, to bring comfort from our own lack of self-worth. Or how often is it simply Satan luring us with the ‘cheese’ that he knows is our greatest temptation. And so we are quite like the three mice - plagued with blindness, spiritual blindness and thus we lose our ‘tails’.

But that is not the end of the story. Though there are consequences that we will never be free of, just like the little mouse will never have his tail, and though Satan has tremendous power in our world, I believe that God has a characteristic that Satan can never attain. It is only God who can take a life without a ‘tail’ and work in it to make it worthwhile and useful and blessed. Satan cannot do that!! I don’t know what the theologians call this phenomena. I call it grace!

Monday, February 21, 2011

From Our Heart Or Our Head

The conversation that Jesus had with the Samaritan woman at the well in John 4 is, apparently, the longest single conversation that Jesus had with one person recorded in the New Testament. But she was a woman, not someone Jesus should have been conversing with out on a lonely plain. She was a Samaritan, not someone a Jew would converse with in any location. And her life style was not exemplary. But some of the most significant truths Jesus ever uttered she was chosen to hear, probably one of the times that one human being had the greatest impact on others for their good happened right here in John 4. How amazing!!

I couldn’t get this story out of my mind yesterday. Part way through His discourse with this woman whose name we don’t know, He said, “Go bring your husband.” He didn’t start her on the journey she needed to take by confronting her with the emptiness of her life, not by saying ‘you should’ or ‘you shouldn’t’. - but simply go bring your husband, the husband He knew she did not have.

But she didn’t want to go there. She was so much like us and we are so much like her. If we can discuss a doctrinal question it protects us from the hard stuff - the stuff of dealing with the heart. And so her question to Jesus was (paraphrased) - Who is worshipping in the right place, you Jews or us Samaritans. Jesus responded in such a way that she ran back to her village, to the people she had avoided for so long because of her shame, the people who were likely giggling and ridiculing and said: “Come see a man who told me everything I have ever done. Could this be the Christ?” What kind of humility, what kind of passion must there have been in her voice for her to cause a villageful of people that she had likely no relationship with over the years to want to go with her? I can only imagine!

All of this was on my mind as I made my way to visit at the Nursing Home yesterday, as I visited with these dear folks and for a long time after. What brings peace when one gets to the point where most of life is spent in a room with our own thoughts, when one’s life is spent in that ‘waiting to die’ stage and place. Will it be that one has worshipped in the right place, at the right time in the right way or will it be ‘He told me everything that ever I did’. I think I know! Jesus called it living water!

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Gaze of the Soul

"And all of us, with unveiled faces, seeing the glory of the Lord as though reflected in a mirror, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another, for this comes from the Lord, the Spirit." 2 Corinthians 3:18. A.W. Tozer's definition of faith - "the gaze of the soul upon God." May I today in my binding of a quilt, in my buying of groceries, in my playin of Scrabble, do it all as one whose gaze of the soul is upon God and may this reflection be apparent to those around me. Amen.