Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Love at the Cash Register!!

Love is a very peculiar thing.....we use this WORD all the time, all over the place and in many different ways.  Unfortunately many people use it to take advantage of another person's desire to hear the "L" word.  Many use it without even realizing the power that this one little word possesses, or how it changes the emotions of those who hear it.  People will often say at the end of a phone call.....most of the time out of habit..."bye, I love you" and then of course the response...."love you too."

Do we really love or truly mean love every time we use it?  I don't think so.  I think we want to mean it or we feel we should mean it, because how cruel or lonely a life would be if we did not love or receive love.  I have realized more and more as the years go on that love...true love, takes work, takes effort, takes us out of our comfort zones.  It is hard to explain and sometimes hard to show.  I also realize in this society or generation that exists today, love is far from the forefront of most young peoples lives.  We live in a very MYOPIC world...meaning most people are truly only concerned with self...IE...My life, My choices, My future, My friends, My church, My, My, My.....

So how do we get back to loving each other the way God would have us to?  How do we get away from "OUR" concerns and look for the interest of others.  Read I Corinthians 13 aka the LOVE chapter gives us Christians what it means to have love.  The checklist of what Love is and is not is thorough and cannot be twisted to suit our selfish desires or interests.  It is an emptying of ourselves for the benefit of another.....sound familiar?  Christ emptied Himself to become sin for YOU so that YOU could experience true love.  So that you could show true love, so that you would know true love.

When training bank personnel for their jobs of handling currency, they will make them handle real money over and over again.  Looking at it, handling it, feeling it, and studying it.  Why?  So they by knowing the real thing will easily recognize the fake.  Knowing real love and experiencing real love and giving real love will help you know when it is false and selfishly based.  Knowing Christ's love is the first step...Do you know Christ's love?  Not know who He is.....Know His Love!?  The World will give you fakes and do a really good job and making it seem like the real thing.  But, If you Know Christ's love, experience Christ's love, practice Christ's love.....you will know and easily pick out the fake or false love.

Today I was in a grocery store in Nassau, and in front of me was an elderly lady of Haitian decent.  She was slow and was causing the line to back up.  People all behind me were extremely frustrated (If you know Bahamians....we have a way of pushing our weight around) and growing more and more anxious as the minutes went on.  This lady had a check to endorse and then use a card and then the rest with cash, so it was taking time and the cashier was markedly frustrated and short with the lady.  I thought to myself that this is somebody's mother, sister, daughter, grandmother, or worse yet, completely alone in life to fend for herself.  I smiled at her and let her know it was ok and she could take her time.  How easy would it have been to become frustrated with her and let her know by my actions and disgust of the time she was taking?  Easy, but Christ's love came to my mind and how would He have treated this lady.  Our society is off!  We are off!  And the only way back to normal is to let the Love of Christ rule our hearts.

Read I Corinthians 13 again and realize without LOVE we are a complete and useless waste of time and energy.  We are NOTHING without the Love of Christ ruling our hearts, lives, actions and thoughts.  We need to change now, we need to let go of the fake and false love and recognize the love of Christ.

Where's the Love?  Let it show and live it loud.  Practice love and remember.....How can you say you love God, when you cannot show love to those who are right in front of you and need you to love them.

I am speaking to myself as well here....so let's all Love first and let the rest follow after that love.


Sunday, August 28, 2011

A Tattoo that spoke to me!

First of all.....take a deep breath.....I still do not agree with tattoos or endorse them!  So with that being said here is my encounter the other day with a tattoo that spoke to me.

I again was on the beach with the wife and kids enjoying the days following the wrath of Hurricane Irene.  The waves were slow and steady with a gentle roll allowing the kids to think they were fearless again as they tried their best to ride them in.....it was fun to watch.  Off to the side were a couple of local guys skim boarding....for you non beachers who do not know what that is allow me to explain.  Skim boarding is when you allow a wave to ride up on the shore with another wave coming directly behind it.  The object is to run with your skim board and throw it to the side or in front of you as you run with it keeping pace.  You then jump on the board as it glides over the thin layer of water over the sand and ride it into the oncoming surf or wave.  You then have the option to either to hit the wave head on and throw your body over the wave in some kind of acrobatic display either flipping or free-styling, or kind of surfing the wave back into the beach.  Either way is fun to watch, but it is not as easy as it looks.....Trust me!!!  But, watching a person who is skilled attack the water and waves is truly like poetry in motion, it is truly an athletic feat to say the least.

For the sake of anonymity I will not use the name of the young man that I met, so we will say John for short.  I watched John for some time before I approached him and had some casual conversation.  John is definitely the epitome of what you would think a surfer "dude" would be.  He was athletic, spiral long curly hair, tanned and really into the water and waves that he was riding.  As I talked to him I was drawn to the tattoo he had across the top of his back....it read "One Life To Live" in cursive writing.  It was obvious that John was enthusiastic about life and about what he was doing.  I do not think that John is a Christian, but I know he knows about Christianity as I discovered we have several common friends through camp and staff. 

John was right in one aspect of his Tattoo......we do only have One Life To Live.....so WHO are you living it for?   John 10:10 says that the thief comes only to STEAL, KILL and DESTROY, but I (Jesus) have come that you should have life and have it to the FULL!  We all have ONE life to live and to allow satan to steal from you the things that God has given you, or kill what God is growing in you or destroying what God is building through you is his goal! 

Stop right here, right now and ask yourself who do you represent?   Be careful before you answer this very serious question.  The world is a very dangerous place for us (Christians) to be passing through, the things of this world will seem appealing to you as you attempt to live this life for Jesus.  Do not allow yourself to let LIFE pass you by without LIVING the only LIFE that you have.  Your future is at stake, your family is at stake, your children are at stake.  How YOU live will affect all those who look to you because you say you follow Christ.  Follow Christ with Passion, Purpose and make Jesus famous by your life.

Yes, that Tattoo spoke to me because you do only have One Life To Live.  Who are you LIVING it for? 

Live it for Jesus or don't tell anyone you are a Christian....you only make it harder for us who truly want to Live it Loud for Jesus.


Friday, August 26, 2011

Lessons in the SAND!!!!

Hello to anyone who has the time to read my WORD for the day....I am not sure how all this works as I have never blogged or kept a journal, or shared anything except on the world of Facebook.  So here we go......Are you ready to take this journey together as we seek to follow Christ, daily!  This will reveal the good, bad and the ugly of struggles, victories, defeats, conquers, battles, wars and all that goes with this journey called LIFE. 

This afternoon there was an awakening or what I like to call a Eureka moment....that time when the light bulb goes off and you realize that you (me) am off course.  I was at the beach with my family the day after Hurricane Irene passed by and left the waters calm and clear as she found them before she passed through with her fury.  Things that were going on were the typical beach activity...football throwing, soccer ball kicking, beach ball rolling with the wind down the beach and kids playing in the waves as if they were fearless.  BUT, there was Rocco, my 4 year old.....There he was, rolling around the sand, tasting the sand, flipping in the sand, throwing sand, wiping his face with sand, using sand for a tissue for his nose, diving headfirst into sand and basically he was covered from head to toe....what a mess!  Then it hit me.....he doesn't even know or care that he has sand in every crack, hole, space or anywhere else sand can get..HE DIDN'T CARE! 

Here he was not with a care in the world about anything or without any concern with what a mess he was.  Didn't he know that the sand was in his hair?  Completely? Did he not care that his nose and ears and face were completely covered?  Not to mention the rash he was going to have from running with sand all over.....we all know how that turns out!!  He did not CARE!  He is 4...not 46 (which I am), he doesn't know from experience about the mess of sand and he did not care to know....he was loving every minute of it. 

Then I realized that he has a love for life, a love for everything fun, a love for anything messy, dirty, not orderly, wet, and he loved that SAND!  I don't love sand anymore.  Why?  I have gone through life living with sand, vacuuming sand out of everything, sweeping sand out of houses, cars, washing hair over and over and over again to get every little piece out....I really do not like sand.  I have lost my childlike ability to love things without caring of the all the details of those things.  I have dealt with sand for 46 years, Rocco is 4 and doesn't care about my weird reasons why I don't like it, he loved it.  Then it hit me like a ton of bricks!!!

Jesus said in Matthew 19: 13-15 "Let the little children come to me.."  Come to Him as a child!  We have lost our love for Jesus and for His Word, and His Commands, His Teachings.  We have forgotten how to come to Him as a little child.  Not caring about the life we are living, the experiences we have had, our expertise on everything and anything.  We care to much about "US," we care too much about our agendas and our concerns.....we are not coming as little children anymore.  Life has choked the LOVE of LIFE right out of us.  Rocco didn't care about the sand because he is a child and loves everything about the sand.....I need to learn to love the SAND again as a child.  Rocco showed me a lot without even knowing it.  I have allowed life to choke out my LOVE of LIFE.  Instead of Loving everyday and Loving everything the day brings, I have been going through the motion of Life without realizing it. 

Jesus and Rocco have it right.....Love life and learn to live it with Passion, Enthusiasm, and get dirty and get life all over you and in everything about you and DON'T care about all you "know" about life.....LOVE IT!!

Rocco Loves Sand.....He Loves Life!
I hope I can learn to stop being concerned with what I know and learn to Live like a CHILD....after all, that is all the Jesus requires.  Come to him daily as a child with the wonder of life in your eyes and living to get life all over you.  Get Messy for Jesus!

Thank you Rocco!