Tuesday, September 30, 2008
Monday, September 29, 2008
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 7:16 AM
Saturday, September 27, 2008
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 9:11 AM
Thursday, September 25, 2008
The picture on the left is one that I have been longing to share. This is the little stone knife that I have written about before. Thousands of years ago, this little knife meant something special to its owner. Was it ceremonial? Was it a weapon of war? Did it belong to a boy? Or a woman?
Except for the back end, which obviously went into a handle of some sort, the edges are dull. The point was either broken or the wages of time have taken its toll. So, who owned this knife before I found it in the soil of our property? And where was this person from?
One of the fallacies of our human nature is to imagine that we are first. First to land on the moon. First to buy the land. First in our own imagination, and, of course, we are the best. But, people came before us. If you check in with the National Geographic Society, even the Neanderthal had a gene marker (actually a mutation on the gene) for red hair and green eyes. When I read that, it made history come that much closer, and since I'm a red-head, with amber eyes (also a mutation), I felt a kind of kinship with the beings who came before us, and whom we have so misunderstood.
Now, I have before me, a small, stone knife. Although worn, it is obvious to see that it was fashioned by an artisan. The sophistication with which it was designed, makes it obvious that the designer was an intelligent, gifted human being. Long, long ago, before you and I were born, there were people who loved, hunted, gathered, and cared to design some of the most beautiful artifacts of history.
The one word that I keep repeating, I have just discovered, is the word design and designer. These days, they have become four letter words. So, in my non-scientific mind, let me just make a few comparisons. Have you ever noticed that the most beautiful seashells have a counter-clockwise pattern that resembles a galaxy? Why? Again, have you noticed that hurricanes, tornadoes, dust-devils, and cyclones all have the same pattern? Why?
I have thought about things like this for years. I believe that they are not proof of, but that they present a good argument for a Designer. Do not confuse the argument for a Designer, with the "six-thousand years creation event." I'm not saying it's wrong. I'm just saying, I don't care how long. All I know is, if we were to go on a treasure hunt, and we found my little knife, we would assume that like things would be buried in that same location. However, when we speak of God, as Designer, we get all crazy about it. The atheists go wild, and the "Creationists" get busy.
I believe in God, and I see patterns in the universe, that tell me that He is the Creator of it all. I know He lives, and I know that He loves me. I feel His hand of protection, and I see His Hand of favor. He lives, and He has filled my life with joy, peace, and love.
I also know that He loves all of His creation, even the ones who deny His very existence. He loved the owner of my little stone knife, and He made the connection between the original designer and me. It is simply a matter of perspective.
Father in heaven, forgive us when our perspective buries our understanding of Your presence. Grant us the grace to see this world, and everything in it, through Your eyes. Let us watch the fading shadows of twilight and know that you are there. And when the sun goes down at the end of the day, or at the end of each life, give us that certainty that we may rest safely in Your arms.
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 10:17 AM
Tuesday, September 23, 2008
What gives you peace? Some people like to go into their bedroom, find the perfect book, close the door to all and sundry, prop up against fluffy pillows, turn on a lamp and read.
Others like to go for a walk, or a run. Still others find their peace in their favorite chair with their favorite drink. My husband likes to go downstairs and stand outside, looking up at the night sky, and just think. Let go of the day. Let go of things that you have no power to change. Pray. Even if you don't believe.
I had a vision about prayer one time. We almost lost one of our daughters. Miraculously she pulled through two landmark surgeries. In the vision I saw a multitude of people praying for my girl, and musical notes were floating up to heaven in colors of red, blue, yellow, and rose. I could see them in my mind's eye, and all of a sudden I realized what prayer means to God. When we pray to Him, asking, pleading, explaining, agreeing, doubting, but not retreating, He hears music. I believe that prayer is the music of the heart.
My most peaceful places are in numbers of three: (1) encircled in my husband's arms, alone; (2) laying on the bed with my girls, my husband, and our dogs, just watching a DVD of our favorite show, commercial free, and (3) alone with God in my garden. Oh how I love to talk to Him in my garden.
In my garden, alone with God, I can feel his sheltering arms around me. I can see his breath in the crispy night air, as the mist rises from the valley below. I see Him in every perfect flower. And I see His mercy in every twig that grows up into a tree. With me, my relationship with God is deeply personal, and those moments alone are the best part of my day.
A time to think. What does that mean? According to the Family Word Finder, to think means: to use one's mind; to reason; to reflect; to deliberate; to ponder; to contemplate; to plan.
In my garden, to think means to let go and let God. This is not easy for me, in times of crisis, such as we are in right now, in the U.S. I have such a great list of suggestions for God, and I usually go through a struggle, as I try to surrender, and yet hold on to what I think would be the perfect solution. For some reason, God puts up with me in those times. And when I don't have any suggestions, I simply have to surrender, and it is then that He dries my tears.
So, now, wherever you are in your life, you might find it possible, to seek that place alone with your thoughts, and I hope, alone with God. Focus on what really matters. Think about the people in your life, who are most precious to you. Money is not precious; houses are not precious; even jobs (that are necessary) are not precious, but your loved ones are. Your peace of mind is; honor is; truth is; and of course, peace.
Heavenly Father, for those believers who call out to You, and for those who don't, I entreat You to hear their prayers. We are not perfect, Lord. So forgive us when we stumble. Protect us from the greed that has crippled our nation and that has taken the bread from our children. Guide us in the days ahead, and raise up honest leaders to lead us into tomorrow. May You guarantee our children's future, and may you grant them peace in the turmoils of their lives. Forever may we stand in the light of Your grace. Grant us, oh Lord, the peace that only You can give...the peace that passes all understanding. Peace of heart, peace of soul, and peace within our homes.
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 8:12 AM
Friday, September 19, 2008
Is there anything about that beautiful dachshund, on the left, that I do not love? I hate it when I hear someone say, "Well, they're just like a member of the family." What is that? And is that really how people think of their own family? Just one of the members? Or is it that they are really saying, that the heart and soul of my little dog, is "just a dog?" How could they?!
This little dog has never left my side, willingly. He has, throughout his life, lived with honor and truth. I'm his, and that's all there is to it. I am in his care, not the other way around. If he must he will die defending me. That little dog is so inside my heart, that he is present in every beat. I've told you a lot about him, but this story I haven't told.
When Happy was a year old, he came down with a deadly form of mange. It took four insecticide treatments to kill the deadly mites. He was so sick that it looked like he would die. I'll never forget the morning that he sat up, with ears perked, and then came trotting to my side, as if to say, "Mommy, let's run and play."
When Happy Dog was six years old, he "went down" with a protruding spinal disc. Spinal disc disease, common among low, long-backed dogs, especially dachshunds, is deadly if left untreated. It was a nightmare. I knew I would lose him, and I just couldn't bear it!
He has a wonderful veterinarian who moved heaven and earth to get him to the research hospital at Virginia Tech. The surgery was successful, and Happy Dog was allowed to come home. We crated him for four weeks. Then right before his sixth birthday...you guessed it...another surgery. And, you guessed it again, he survived to race and play again.
One evening, I walked Happy Dog in my front yard, being careful where he stepped, since he was still recovering. There was a feral dog in the neighborhood. I saw the dog, but I had stared the dog down before, so I was unafraid. Quickly, I hurried my faithful companion towards the door. I walked in with Happy Dog, and quickly he did an about face. The ruff on his neck and back stood straight up, and he was growling. Next thing I knew, my husband was down the stairs, and the dog high-tailed it away. That vicious dog had followed us into the house. Can you believe that? And he was after Happy Dog.
Crippled or not, Happy Dog, stood his ground to defend me. I swear, if that wild dog had harmed my precious pet, who is so full of honor and truth, I would have hunted that dog down and torn it limb from limb. Hard to believe that a 62 year old crippled woman would make such a remark. Huh?
Approximately two years ago, Happy had minor surgery, along with teeth cleaning. When I went to pick him up, my hand felt moisture on his chest.
"What's this?" I asked.
"Oh, it's just a little fluid. It's normal." What?
By the time we got home and out of the car, my clothing was soaked with Happy's blood. I held him up, and the blood "drip-drip-dripped." Back to the emergency we went, and the same doctor who had saved his life before, saved him again.
Now, Happy Dog is almost ten years old, and I am grateful for every minute. The only thing that keeps me from letting him sleep in the bed with us, is my fear of him injuring his back in the middle of the night.
So, at a time in our Country, when we have a Presidential election staring us in the face, and every mortgage company and insurance company needs a bail-out, things look pretty bleak. These are the times, however, that I look to my little dog. I have never seen him give up. He has fought every set-back with every ounce of his being. He has no trouble recognizing danger, and when the time comes, he's ready to fight.
Today, I consider the blessings in life, that God has already given me. My husband and daughters and my Christian faith. Another one of my greatest gifts is the love of my Happy Dog. If need be I must face my fears with his courage and grit. There is only one way for my little dog in the face of adversity: fight, and when all else fails, then to stand unmoved.
This present crisis, in the United States, smacks of corruption, or at least, lack of oversight. It's downright scary. Yet, I wonder how Happy Dog would handle this situation. Truthfully, I think that Happy Dog would grab hold of the culprits in charge, and he would give them, while growling fiercely, a great big shake.
So, take heart, my friends. Look around you, and in family and friends, you will find true riches beyond compare. You certainly have blessed my life, just by listening to me. I just hope my little metaphor has blessed you.
Father, bring us through this time of desperation. Help us to understand what is honor and truth. Help us to face the storm ahead, knowing that Your loving presence will be there for us, in the eye of the storm.
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 8:47 AM
Friday, September 12, 2008
When I'll have to say "good-bye."
Yet, even then I'll trust in You;
Although it makes me cry.
I trust in You to carry me
Through that dark and lonely place;
And heal my heart, as I recall,
His little, laughing face.
I know that you will be there,
And you'll wipe my tears away;
And perhaps in Your great mercy,
I’ll be with him, there, one day.
The Bible says, in Heaven
We'll be free from every care;
But I can't imagine Heaven
Unless Happy Dog is there.
So, if I am presumptuous,
I trust You'll understand
That I’ll willingly walk the road ahead,
If You'll only hold my hand.
© Jaye Lewis, 2001
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 7:42 AM
Thursday, September 11, 2008
The picture on the left is of one of my gardens. It's small; yet it is filled with things that I like. It's right outside of my back door.
The tree trunk that you see, is ten years old. I planted it as a tiny seedling, along with several others. Most of the seedlings did not grow. This one did. It is a healthy tree. Through torrential rains, ice storms, and summer drought, this tree, somehow is anchored to everything that is good about the land.
When we moved into our house, the yard was filled with trees, but the ground was red clay, which turned to concrete under the summer sun, and became a quagmire after days of rain. Our yard sits on a granite shelf, that is two feet down. The dirt (we laughingly call soil) is covered with the ugliest lawn I've ever seen, and it is filled with rocks. From that beginning, we have created gardens. My favorite is the garden that you see in the photo at top left.
The statue is a statue of Francis of Assisi. Francis was a young man, who lived in the Twelfth Century. He gave up a wealthy existence to become poor. He gave up life as a soldier, to become a man of peace. You may remember his poem, which begins:
"Lord, make me an instrument of Thy peace.
Where there is hatred, let me sow love;
Where there is injury, pardon;
Where there is doubt, faith...."
It is well worth the Google-search to read the entire poem.
Francis is one of my favorite peace makers. He loved the Lord, and His people. He loved the animals, and he called them "brother" and "sister." It just seemed right to find a statue of Francis to be a part of this garden.
In the world that we live in, there isn't much peace. Yesterday, a young girl in India committed suicide, because of her fear of what is referred to as "the big-bang machine." Billions of dollars have been spent on this giant contraption that "might" bring about new technologies. Or it might blow the world up. The young girl was so terrified, that she took her own life. It breaks my heart.
Never mind that there are people being slaughtered in the Sudan and around the world...people who want nothing more than a future for themselves and their children. Yet, we are a pretty selfish society, and the more able we become in technology, the less able we become as human beings.
We cannot force peace upon strangers who don't want peace, anymore than we can force peace upon certain members of our own families. You know who I mean. You have perverse people in your life who are all about attack, slash and burn, in their relationships. Anything to bring about their own interpretation of victory. Never peace.
Life is not easy in a world like this. In our own community, there is affluence and poverty. It bothers me. I want someone to care about the poor. When we stand before God, what are we going to tell Him about our propensity to invent one more contraction, that we have no idea WHAT it will actually do? And when He asks us, "Did you feed your brother? Did you heal your sister?" What are we going to say?
"Well, we built a lot of stuff?"
So, I'm sadly aware, that we can only do our best to feed the hungry and give drink to the thirsty. We cannot dictate what governments should do. We cannot singlehandedly bring about the one thing that we all long for...peace.
So, as in my garden, we must find a place that brings us personal peace. As we reflect upon this tragic anniversary of America's darkest hour. As we contemplate the lives that were lost at the Twin Towers (from every nation) let us find the peace that we seek within our selves.
So, join with me now, in the garden of our hopes and dreams, and let us bring peace to our souls. We can only pray that our world will follow.
Father in heaven, in the words of your servant, Francis, please make of us, instruments of Your peace.
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 9:50 AM
Wednesday, September 10, 2008
To our left is a picture of three little friends. At the top of the puppy pile is Pixel, who is nine months old. To the right is my weenie dog, Happy Dog. To the left is Peanut, who is nearly four years old. Really? Nearly four, already? Happy Dog, of course, will soon be eleven years old.
He's growing old, but then, so am I. I'm not crazy about growing old. Gravity is not nice to a woman of 62, and muscle-tone is a thing of the past. Even though I garden, including weeds, pulling up sod, and digging out boulders, still I find that my body betrays me. Enough of the pity party.
I've been thinking a lot about friendship lately, and how illusive it is. If you have one close friend in a lifetime, then you are very rich. I'm not talking about popularity. Nor am I talking about that local pub, "where everyone knows your name." I'm talking about friendship where success is celebrated, and faults and imperfections are overlooked. In fact, sometimes those eccentricities are celebrated and considered a virtue.
We have lost, I believe, in modern society the ability to forge true friendships. We choose friends who think as we do; go to the same Church; or who don't go to Church. We want someone to validate us, not give us a different point of view.
I have one friend, outside of my family. She and I were both pushing forty when we met; both military wives; and we spent nearly eight years living across the street from one another. We did things that made us laugh; we shared sorrows; and we watched our kids grow up together. Even though we live thousands of miles a part, now, we still keep in touch. We have shared lives, experiences, and we forgave one another quickly. I can't think of anyone whom I miss, the way I miss her. She will always be my true friend.
My other friends are my daughters and my husband. Oh yes, aside from family, we are all friends, and we have unique relationships with each other. We all live to be together. We can't wait for that first cup of coffee, when everyone is home. We pile on the bed, along with the sleeping pups above, and we toast the day: Tink...go the cups, as we cry, "I love everyone in this room!!" Then we share our experiences, thoughts, and feelings. There's a lot of laughter. A lot of peace. These are my best friends.
The little pups, in their little puppy pile above, are very different. Happy Dog is older, an alpha-male, who still thinks he's the policeman in charge. Pixel, our little miniature Schnauzer is a lover, not a fighter. She adores Happy Dog, and he let's her. Peanut, is a sensitive four year old, filled with anxiety when her Momma is gone, yet when Momma comes home from work, she is a laughing, playful, bundle of joy. These little dogs fill my life with tenderness and love. They are my friends.
As you look at the picture of our puppy pile, above, remember that these little dogs are not naturally friends. They've worked things out, and although they have their idiosyncrasies, they are definitely friends. What an example they are: loving, arguing, vying for their space, laughing, playing, and, by God, telling time, as they have just now. It's time for lunch, and they are telling me.
Gosh, they are looking at me with wide-eyed expectation. I guess I'd best move along or they'll start barking. We wouldn't want lunch to be late.
Father in heaven. Thank you for the creatures you have given us, from the lowliest sparrow to these little pups, who make our lives rich, beyond compare. Grant us the grace, that we will practice wise stewardship. Let us never forget that you created them first.
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 9:04 AM
Monday, September 08, 2008
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 1:40 PM
Sunday, September 07, 2008
The picture at the left of this screen is of my beloved companion of over ten years. You can see that he is remarkably young looking for his age. I don't think that he looks a day over seven. He's getting white on his paws, and on his muzzle, but he is as beautiful as ever.
I don't know what I would have done without the devotion of this little dog. For ten years he has been at my side in fair weather and in foul. When illness hit me eight years ago, and no one knew if I would live or die, Happy Dog lay by my side. I have a picture of his worried face, and though the picture of me is not flattering, I will keep it always. When I seemed to be getting better, he was the one who brought me the ball to throw, making up a game that he has taught the other little dogs, and one that he still loves to play.
I've thought a lot about what Happy Dog's faithfulness signifies, and I think I know what it means to me. He has taught me that faithfulness never dims when one loves his master.
I have a Master. Yes, I willingly follow Him; wait on Him; and am often impatient with Him. I believe that my Master loves me, much in the way that I love my Happy Dog. I forgive Happy Dog, even when he does the unthinkable, such as lifting his leg on everything in the house that he claims as his own.
I also have a problem with owning things; like the weather. I NEED RAIN!!! SEND IT NOW!!! Uh..oh. I guess I don't own the weather. I must submit. And I repent. Happy Dog does much the same, when he brings me his ball. I NEED TO PLAY!!! He barks, wagging his tail. He is relentless, following me from room to room, no matter what I need to do first. ME FIRST! PLAY WITH MEEEEEE!!!!
So like me, is this little dog. Yet, I have to crate him from time to time. He is a dachshund after all, and he has degenerative disc disease. When he injures himself, it is prednisone and muscle relaxers; and three to six weeks in the crate. I limit his access to play, so that he can get well and live to play another day.
Degenerative disc disease can be life threatening to a dachshund. It can often require delicate spinal surgery. Happy has had two surgeries, back to back, a month a part. Since then I have crated him five or six times, limiting his mobility so that he can heal.
Loving a dog like my Happy Dog requires devotion, a sense of humor, self-discipline, a rigid diet (so that he has no extra weight on his spine), and he doesn't like it at all.
You may wonder -- heck, I wonder -- what my little allegory has to do with me, other than my undying love for this dog. Well, this is very personal to my relationship with Someone other than my dog. You see, my Master is Jesus Christ. My relationship with Him is central to my faith in God.
God doesn't always consult me. He acts, and I have no idea what He is doing. I can't see the result of my discomfort, much as Happy Dog cannot see from his crate, the real health that I am giving him to play again. So, with my Master, Jesus, I can't see the outcome, and, frankly, sometimes it just makes me crazy. LORD, send me a memo, soon!
All of the pondering of my heart, God can hear. He cares. He acts. And, as my husband says, "It has already happened; you just haven't caught up with it in time." So, here I am, understanding more, by simply writing and sharing my thoughts with you. God is here, always, right with me. In the same room. Looking over my shoulder as I write. He's here, even more than I am with Happy Dog.
God makes me wait, when I want what I want, NOW! He hears my prayer and cares. So my prayer should be, LORD, you know what I want; but I know that you know what I really want before I do.
Father, thank you for giving me an understanding that I can hold on to. My understanding is weak, and perhaps shallow; but I do see why this waiting is so important. I may not like the outcome, but I can trust the One who holds the outcome in His hands. With all my heart, I love You.
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 11:03 AM
Saturday, September 06, 2008
Have you ever felt that you are not being heard? You know. You are speaking, and you are not being heard. "I heard you! I heard you!" Someone may say. But you know that you haven't been heard.
Jesus often referred to people "hearing, but not hearing;" and "seeing, but not seeing." It seems like a paradox. How can one hear, but not hear? And how can one see, but not see? Well, I have a few examples from my own life.
When my husband and I celebrated our thirteenth anniversary, he took me to a posh restaurant, which had romantic lighting. The enormous picture windows allowed us to hold hands and watch the sun go down. All at once, my love, pulls a tiny package out of a colorful bag. Then he pulls out a small, handmade velvet pillow, and he kneels upon it, with one knee. I was astounded as he opened the box and showed me the beautiful engagement ring inside.
"Jaye," he said. "I couldn't give you a ring thirteen years ago; so I offer you this one, now. Will you marry me?"
My eyes filled with tears, which spilled down my face, as the server behind me cried, "Oh, my God!" The restaurant patrons broke out in applause, as I replied in a tremulous voice, "Yes!!!"
No one knew that we were an "old married couple." All they saw was a man and a woman deeply in love. Sadly, at the next table, a tragic break-up had been taking place. A young woman pleaded with an angry man.
"Please, see the sun is going down! Look! Look! It's so romantic."
The irritated man quickly glanced out the window and spat out words I'll never forget, "I SAW IT! I SAW IT!" Then he leaped up and left the restaurant, as his partner sobbed. He hadn't seen it, nor had he heard her.
Hearing words, without understanding, is not hearing. Seeing, yet unmoved, is not seeing. I have learned that seeing and hearing is not about the eyes or the ears. Seeing and hearing is about the heart. So, it may seem as though my pondering over these things is irreverent today, but for me, it is everything.
I had an acquaintance once, whom I thought was a close friend. However -- and this was years ago -- when she and I were watching a horrible sight on the news, our paths went different ways.
I was appalled by the story, and the video of an Ethiopian mother and child. Both were emaciated, and the baby had a swollen belly. I couldn't stand it. All I could see was my baby, dying before my eyes. It was so personal, and I was helpless to save them.
All of a sudden, my "friend" spat out a barrage of filth and obscenities. I could see her face filled with hatred and rage. Then she screamed, a racial slur, and cold shock streaked through me. I couldn't believe it. Before our eyes, the baby's eyes went blank. We had watched her die, and my life was forever changed. My "friend?" Well, let's just say, we were no longer friends. She was able to look, without seeing; and her heart was so hard, that even this did not move her. I went home, and I cried so long, that it seemed like forever.
So, what does this have to do with my life today? Well, that day taught me to look, with an open heart; and I've learned to hear, with open ears. Where I cannot reach out and change the circumstance, I allow the circumstance to change me.
One day, not so many Christmases ago, we had decided that we would not exchange presents, because we do not have small children. Instead, we try to look for ways to help others have a happy Christmas. We've been very blessed by our decision. However, that first Christmas, was the best of all for me. I had one of my holiday asthma attacks, and I was standing in line at the Pharmacy.
I had just paid for my medicine, and I was feeling a little uneasy about our Christmas decision. Then, behind me, a young woman stepped forward to pay for her baby's medicine.
"That will be twenty-five dollars," the clerk said.
The woman stood there holding her baby, and she pushed a bag of change onto the counter. The clerk sighed, and she quickly counted the change.
"You're $4.29 short."
Tears sprung to the young mother's eyes. It was a painful sight. What was she going to do???
"I don't have it." She said.
"I'm sorry." The clerk replied, obviously embarrassed.
Suddenly, a light burst forth in my soul.
"Wait! I can pay for it!" I cried. "I have the money!!" I don't think that I have ever felt so filled with joy and understanding, as I wrote a check for the child's medicine.
"Here," said the young woman, as she tried to give me the bag of change.
"No," I replied, as I handed back her change.
"I'll never forget this gift," she said, "nor you."
"Oh, but you don't understand," I barely choked out the words. "You have given me a priceless gift. And the best Christmas I've ever had."
We parted, and I walked out into a Christmas Eve, all at once filled with light. My heart sang. I cried all the way home, just as I am now. I realized that it doesn't matter when we decide to hear and see. It only matters that we do.
Father in heaven, grant us the grace to hear and see, more than we ever have before. Let each day be a new day to allow our hearts to open towards others. I know that I fail in this, and it always amazes me just how blunt my perceptions can be. By Your grace, I can become a more compassionate, seeing, hearing child of God. In Your name, Amen
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 11:14 AM
Thursday, September 04, 2008
Compassion. Just what is it? Is it sympathy? Or is it something more. According to the Family Word Finder, a thesaurus, compassion can be defined as "tenderheartedness." Compassion is feeling the pain of others, and going beyond self to try and heal suffering, without judgement. I believe this is a rare virtue. However, our best example of this kind of compassion is Jesus.
When Jesus was faced with a woman taken in the very act of adultery, instead of staring at her or distaining her, He showed compassion.
"Then neither will I condemn you." There stood the Son of God, averting His eyes, so that He would not add to her shame. How can I not love a God like that?
When He was at the well with the Samaritan woman, did He rant and rave a sermon? And tell her what an adulteress she was? No, He did not. He simply told her about her life. He read her soul, and her heart responded. To this day, there are Christians in the Middle East who trace their faith back to the Samaritan woman at the well.
Jesus made it very clear that we are not to judge. And the Apostle Paul stated that he was not concerned with the behavior of the world, but he was concerned with the behavior of the Church. If you are a Christian, that's you and me.
So, why is it that the attitudes of Christians, in this day, are ones of judgement? Why are conservative Christians, as I am, loud, noisy, even rude? I look at some of my fellow evangelicals, and I think, our attitudes are what gives Christianity a bad name. Why is that? Why have we become so shameful?
Where is our compassion? Where is our decision to follow Christ? When were we elected to judge our neighbors? And just who IS my neighbor? Well, Jesus told us the story of the Good Samaritan, a man who was shunned and judged as an outcast from society. So, what is wrong with us, that we look upon the outcasts of today, without pity?
Lord Jesus, grant me the grace to desire no will of my own. Hold up the mirror of your perfect example, and open my heart that I may cast aside my pride. May I love others as you have loved me. May I see myself through your eyes, and may I become a compassionate Christian, just as you desire of me.
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 11:51 AM
Wednesday, September 03, 2008
Once when presented with a request for healing, Jesus asked, "Do you believe?" The petitioner then cried out, "Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief!"
So much of my life has been filled with this struggle. Lord, I know you'll provide. Help me to last until the tide turns. I waited ten years for a new asthma medication - one that would allow me to go months, even years without an asthma attack. Lord, give me my next breath, and let me see a healthier tomorrow. With asthma, fibromyalgia, arthritis, and neuralgia, I waited years. Lord, give me one more day without pain. Help me to live each day with hope.
Too many years have meant a battle with my health. I hate every pill I take, every single time. Yet, each time that there is a problem with one of my presciptions being filled, the anxiety has been almost unbearable. Lord, help me to believe that this, too, is directed by your hand. I get angry when my medications are messed with. You too? Yeah, you know what I mean.
We have three little dogs: Happy Dog, my little dachshund; Peanut, my youngest daughter's pomeranian; and our newest, Pixel, my older daughter's miniature schnauzer. If I am sitting on the bed, as I am now, they are all around me. Happy Dog on my left, sucking all the heat out of my left hip; Pixel, pushed up against Happy; and Peanut at my feet, because the other dogs have cooties. Each has its own personality. Each has its own personal need. They depend on me. And when they have a request, they sit up and stare expectant holes through me, knowing that I will understand and respond.
If only I had faith in God, with the same measure as they have faith in me. But we humans don't offer faith very easily. We want proof. These little dogs don't need proof. They know. I realize that there is a lesson here. Only when my faith becomes trust, can I be as good as my dogs.
Little dogs are very unique creatures. They are smarter, more observant, and more demanding. They are filled with love, intuitiveness, and courage that is only surpassed by their sense of humor. Each can make your soul spill over with fierce affection, and when they ignore you (as they will if you displease them), it can just about break your heart. Little dogs are also the only animal that Jesus speaks about, in Scripture, with fond affection. How appropos that my Savior should let me know how precious they are. Little dogs.
I don't know how I lived my life, without these little dogs. Each has something precious to give to me. Happy, with his undying devotion, after eleven years, has left his mark on my soul. Peanut, whose tremendous, watchful spirit, has taught me much about loyalty, single-mindedness, and the power of waiting. Pixel, just a little over six months in our family, has taught me the boundless energy of puppyhood, and with her blue-green, human-like eyes, she has given me a look into my own soul.
Each pup gives everything, 100%, always. Can I do that? Can I love with their passion? Can I trust with such capacity. I don't know. But I can try. Lord, I believe. Help my unbelief.
Posted by Jaye Lewis at 12:49 PM