Monday, April 29, 2013

Progress Bars



So as I eat lunch today, still seeing this image, I thought I'd share some of my thoughts from this morning. The image above (the one that I have been staring at for over two hours!) is as you probably know, a progress bar. Waiting ... waiting ... and more waiting ...

It was a rather long morning, and still this task is not done! However, it offered some time to reflect on this strange little green moving rectangle. What is my progress bar? How am I progressing?

"Command and teach these things. Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity. Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching. Do not neglect the gift you have, which was given you by prophecy when the council of elders laid their hands on you. Practice these things, immerse yourself in them, so that all may see your progress. Keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Persist in this, for by so doing you will save both yourself and your hearers."  (1 Timothy 4:11-16 ESV, emphasis added of course for my focus)
As you may know, these are words written by the Apostle Paul, to his friend, mentee, and brother in Christ, Timothy. His words are encouraging, not heavy handed, and illustrates a beautiful picture on youth, growth, gifts, and progress. The questions I ask myself from this passage are simply:

What are my gifts?
          What am I devoting myself to?

                    Are they matching up?

It seems like the answer to these questions can help me fill up that progress bar of life ... my calling ... my purpose. The joy of knowing that by keeping this focus not only saves myself, but could potentially save some around me.

What are your God-given gifts? Where is your devotion?

Focusing ... matching ... and progressing ...

His,
~Matt

Friday, April 26, 2013

Rest and Reconciliation


Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. (Matthew 11:28 ESV)


Rest? I love how Noah Webster defines it in his 1828 dictionary: "Quiet; repose; a state free from motion or disturbance; a state of reconciliation to God."

a state of reconciliation to God

Amen! It is so much more than (if not at all) physical rest!

I recently (over the past couple weeks) have been feeling quite burdened. I felt like no matter what I did I just could not catch up; at home, at work, in my personal life. However after spending some time with a brother and sister in Christ, I quickly realized that I just kept trying to get water from my own empty well (again). I kept trying to dig deep into something that just was not there. Sitting with them and simply talking about the beauty and majesty of Christ, our walks, and how He is speaking in our life rejuvenated me! I realized my fault, and handed the bucket over to Him again, to fill me with water from a Well that never goes dry.

I reconciled again with God.

I found my rest. And I feel refreshed.

Rest in Him, and drink!

His,
~Matt

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Nice Shoes!

 

Leaving the grocery store this evening I hear someone walk by me and comment, "Nice shoes!"

Oh no! I immediately think I forgot to slip on my shoes again and left the house in my slippers! This would not be the first time. I look down, and guess what? To my surprise, no slippers! I was wearing shoes! Yay! However, I can't say there is anything quite amazing about my simple black work shoes. So while perplexed at this strange encounter, I simply look up and give a 'thank you'. I hear right back, "You're welcome!" along with a smile.

As I followed the two individuals out of the store (one of which made the comment) I realized by the conversation that the one who spoke to me seemed to have what apparently is called special needs. Just the words, tone, pattern, and expressiveness seem to indicate this. I could go in more depth, but it's pointless to my point (if that makes sense).

This was my third time today being around someone with special needs. Earlier I was privileged to sit and chat for a while with another young man. Perhaps I'm behind the times and there is another term that society likes to label people with, but I do understand the spirit of the term. Certain individuals require more care than others, I get this. I also am very aware that certain individuals have significant conditions that require them to be quite dependant on others for help, I get this. I understand that some conditions are so intensive that it puts a tremendous amount of strain on the individual and family members around them, I get this. However there is such a wide range of conditions and I really think this term makes so many get placed with a label that makes them sound more consuming than giving.

I didn't drive home from the grocery store with a smile pondering the random word of kindness from someone who was lacking something. I drove home from the grocery store with a smile pondering the random word of kindness from someone who had something to offer.
As he passed by, he saw a man blind from birth. And his disciples asked him, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” Jesus answered, “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him. (John 9:1-3 ESV)


I didn't encounter someone with special needs, I encountered someone with whom God works through. I experienced untainted care, joy, and love.

I have special needs too ... I need some more of what that person had to offer.

His,
~Matthew
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