Wednesday, October 28, 2020

God Sees Our Hearts


the Lord does not see as mortals see; they look on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart. 1 Samuel 16:7


First Impressions

It is said that it takes a split second to form an opinion about a person. The formation of those opinions is aided by stereotypes that we've learned or developed over the years.

Stereotypes Can Help

When applied judiciously, stereotypes can serve us well, saving time and, perhaps in some situations, helping us to survive. A child learns, either through experience or being taught, that a growling dog should be avoided. Not all growling dogs will bite, but it's better to keep one's distance.

Stereotypes Can Hurt

Sometimes, the stereotypes are applied too broadly. If you are taught, or decide after an experience or two, that all dogs will bite, you will have a false impression of that friendly, tail-wagging pup that just wants to play fetch.

That is often the problem with stereotypes applied to people. As soon as we start lumping people together because of some visible trait, we have false impressions of a good number of them.

How Can We Be More Like Jesus?

If we had the ability to see what's in a person's heart, it would be easy to make judgments about them. But we can't, so we have to rely on other things. What can we do to be more like Jesus?

  1. Use stereotypes judiciously. Understand that they are useful in probably only the most dire situations. Everyone is a unique individual who deserves to be judged on their own merits.
  2. Look for the best in everyone. We are all loved by God because He sees the best in us. Our best may be hidden by prison garb, unkempt hair and clothes, or a snarly face, but He is able to look past those superficial things to see the treasures that we are.
  3. Forgive failings. None of us is perfect. All of us make mistakes, commit sins, and have weaknesses. Jesus sees all of those failings and is still able to love us. We can do the same.

Tuesday, October 27, 2020

Matthew 5:6


 God blesses those who hunger and thirst for justice, for they will be satisfied.
Matthew 5:6

Monday, October 26, 2020

Ecclesiastes 2:26

God gives wisdom, knowledge and joy to those who please him.



 God gives wisdom, knowledge, and joy to those who please him.
Ecclesiastes 2:26

Sunday, October 25, 2020

Matthew 22:9

Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see. Matthew 22:9

 Now go out to the street corners and invite everyone you see.
Matthew 22:9

Saturday, October 24, 2020

1 Thessalonians 5:18

 

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God’s will for you who belong to Christ Jesus. 1 Thessalonians 5:18

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

Say Their Names

Losing a child, no matter what age, makes your heart break in places that you never knew existed.

He will wipe every tear from their eyes,
and there will be no more death or sorrow or crying or pain.
All these things are gone forever.

The death of a child is unimaginably difficult. I mean, really unimaginable. And with over 20,000 child deaths each year and over 20% of pregnancies ending in miscarriage, there are a lot of parents who have to experience the unimaginable.

I have experienced that loss three times. First was a miscarriage early in my pregnancy - at about 12 weeks. I'd just found out that I was pregnant and I was already in love with the tiny life growing inside me. I was already dreaming about that child's life and how he or she would fit into our growing family. I was picturing my first daughter was a big sister. And then it was over barely before it began. A boy or girl? I never knew. There was no funeral, no grave to visit. My mother cried with me. My friends didn't know what to say. 

Less than a year later, I was pregnant again. I held my breath until the 13th week and then I allowed myself to begin dreaming again. The pregnancy was actually quite uneventful and, by the time the due date came, I was allowing myself to relax. When the labor pains began, I looked forward to meeting this new life that I'd come to know over the past nine months. By the time we got to the hospital, she was already gone. We named her Kimberly.

My friends still didn't know what to say. Even my pastor was at a loss for comforting words, resorting to the trite "you can always have another."

Two years later, Nicole was born six weeks early. Mercifully, we'd been spared the knowledge of her genetic issues while I was pregnant, only learning upon her birth. Abortion would not have been an option and I don't know how I would have managed if I'd known earlier. We spent the next 39 days making the NICU our second home. We pretended that we had all of the time in the world while knowing our time with Nicole would be too short. 

I think of those three children very often. Probably every day. And I talk about Kimberly and Nicole often. I remind people that they were - and still are - a part of my life. I use their names and it's music to my ears when others do as well. Of all of the facets of grief, I regret that people outside of my immediate family will forget about these two precious girls that they never met. And so it's important to me to continue to talk about them and to say their names.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Take a minute to say a prayer for those parents who have had to experience the unimaginable. If you know someone who has experienced the loss of a child, talk about the child. Use his or her name. You will be giving that parent a precious gift.

Thursday, October 1, 2020

Engagement Posts - Daily Observance Style


Today is Bring Your Bible to School Day. It's also International Coffee Day and probably a dozen other observances. I've created a month's worth of daily observances graphics for social media engagement. You can find them at https://photos.app.goo.gl/jV7mQXGcyQSnC9Ju5