Still Water

I have spent way too much time in my life worrying about what other people will think of me if I say certain things, dress, behave, or do things (games, athletics, sing, etc) in public. This fear is paralyzing at times. Who knows what I have missed out on because I can’t bring myself to risk ridicule or embarrassment? The older I get the less I worry, but I still don’t bowl or play games in front of other people…maybe one day.

When it comes to talking to people about Jesus I experience the same kind of paralyzing fear. The fear that I will be ostracized or someone will argue with me and I won’t know what to say. The fear of rejection was more powerful than trusting Jesus to be with me.

With age comes wisdom. I have found ways of doing it that isn’t preaching at someone; telling them they are going to hell if they don’t believe and do as I do. Jesus taught with love and gentleness. He didn’t mince words, but he taught with stories and metaphors. He loved and cared for all people and held religious leaders to a higher standard. With them he could get testy. After all, they were the people who should have known better.

Jesus knew and understood why he was reviled by the Jewish leaders of his day. He was turning their world upside down. Jesus still turns our world upside down. The mere mention of his name can set jaws and spines in rebellion to the message he brought. This verse brings me comfort in those times I feel rejection because I take a stand with Jesus. It isn’t me…it is him. So I know to pray for the person or persons that their heart would soften and become receptive. Then it is out of my hands. I treat the person with loving kindness and show them what it is like to be a follower of Christ.

“The world cannot hate you, but it hates me because I testify against it that its works are evil.” ~Jesus

John 7:7

When you feel isolated and lonely for whatever reason, Jesus knows how you feel. His still waters run deep and he will comfort and guide you.

~Sheryl

Fear, Sparrows and Me

What do these things have in common? Jesus spoke about them all in the twelfth chapter of Luke. Well, he didn’t speak about me personally, rather he was speaking to his disciples. However, all who believe he is the Son of God; God made flesh who walked the earth then was persecuted and executed only to rise in three days to complete his purpose then ascended into heaven, we, too are his disciples. So what did he say?

Fear

I live with anxiety. I take medication so the symptoms are under control but my mind still can grab a hold of some thought or situation and go crazy creating scenarios that are not real. They are products of my imagination. Jesus very clearly says “Don’t be afraid. Do not worry.” So why do we live in fear?

It is one of the subjects spoken of the most in the Bible. I think it is because God knew that humanity, separate from Him, would try to survive on their own. Think of a small child who wants to venture out into the world, but is cautious; they will only go where their parent goes to keep them safe. Without God’s presence the world is a very scary place.

Sparrows & Me

Sparrows seem like happy little birds. They hop around urban areas scavenging for food and zip about in the sky from bush to bush hiding from predators. I have always taken great joy in watching sparrows go about their business.

Jesus uses sparrows to teach us how much we are loved and that God is with us always. As great teachers do, he used ordinary things to illustrate his message. Sparrows are small, prolific, commonplace and in the food chain, fairly helpless.

Maybe it is the small and helpless part of this that strikes so close to home for me. I am small and helpless – literally, I am a small person with little ability to protect myself. But I know that God loves me more than the sparrows and “the very hairs on your head are all numbered. So don’t be afraid; you are more valuable to Him than a whole flock of sparrows.” This verse, Luke 12:7, is not the only time sparrows are used to show us how valuable we are to God. With a love like that is it no wonder that we are told over and over, “Do not worry.”

Worry = Broken Connection

Whenever I find myself worrying about the future…what I should do or where I should go, how will something work out…I know I have become disconnected. Worry comes when I have let go of Jesus’ hand and begun relying on my own knowledge and wisdom. Just like that toddler who must have their parent with them to feel safe and secure, I must stay connected to Jesus. He is my everything; he is my savior, role model, teacher, comforter and Lord. Without him my life has no value or meaning.

So, I start my day here and know that what comes next will all work for my own good no matter what that may be.

Blessings to you and those you love. ~Sheryl