As 2009 comes to a close I have so many things I’d like to share, things to explain, encouragements I’d like to give. But as the days run out, I find that what I really want to share with you is that we need to love one another… and it’s so much easier to do than we might think.
I have found that I can walk with a friend who I have only ever met online. I don’t get to “chat” with that friend much because I’m not online much, I don’t know the person’s birthday, I don’t send text messages because we are in different countries. I’ve never heard her voice. But we are friends. I’d say we are extremely good friends. And I have more than one female friend like that. And I have many male friends like that too!
How is it possible to walk with someone and see the changes in them, when you hardly know them? It’s simply because I love them – in a manifest way. I show them love. I watch them, I comment, I support, I respond to calls for help. I listen. I interact. I notice when good things happen and comment on them. As time goes by and the person changes for the better I point that out. I see the best in them.
My purpose is always to build my friends up, while speaking in truth. I never avoid truth, but the truth is intended to build up. And over time it works. It works so well 🙂
Love is such a practical thing. I don’t live people’s lives for them, I don’t make decisions for them – I just reach out a hand to them. They take it or not, and perhaps they change their minds later. People are complex, they are fallen, they can run and hide, or come and go like waves. Expect the unexpected when you choose to love someone.
Quite often my actions are misunderstood… but do you know what I have learned? If I am consistent and I keep being me, then over time people see who I am and they adjust. I can almost always pick the day that they “get” me and then for a while there is a look of shame on their face as they realize they have been judging me incorrectly and unfairly. I never acknowledge that, I don’t want to cause a roadblock of shame. I just keep on being me. I just keep on reaching out my hand to whoever needs one.
And so the embarrassment passes and we move on to the next phase… whatever that might be… perhaps it’s a time of trust and mutual appreciation. And sometimes that doesn’t happen… and that relationship doesn’t mature and doesn’t grow. And that’s ok too. But in all cases I have to be me.
No extras, no bells and whistles… and this is why I keep it real… because being me is the only thing I can consistently be throughout 100% of my life. I can’t sustain being someone else or being a “better” me. I can only be me. And Jesus Christ is in me, and I am filled with Him, He moves me to love. So that’s a pretty cool me – and I’m happy with it.
I once had a vision of how people grow. They move down a long line of kindly people and as they move each one pats them on the back. Or that’s how it seemed for a while. And then I thought, perhaps each “pat” from each person is actually propelling the hurt person towards a destiny of being healthy and well adjusted. Try and imagine that image. Has it happened to you? A long line of people encouraging you along your walk? Although I felt so alone during those many years, now that I look back, I can see how many many people had a tiny influence, a tiny pat on my back as I passed by.
I got to where I am partly as a result of all those many small moments from caring people who God brought into my life. To all those people I can say a big thank you! And to those who had far greater input I say thank you. All you have invested is now being passed on to other people. What you gave to me is being given away to others. As you enriched my life, I am enriching even more lives. Freely you gave to me and freely I now give.
I have come to a place in my life where I can even give thanks for the bad experiences that I went through – and that is quite a thing to say, let me tell you!
And the biggest THANK YOU goes to my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Lord Jesus without You I would not be on the edge of the best year of my life. As I grow to know You and Your ways, I am amazed and delighted. I am convinced of Your goodness and You love for all people.
Because I am so convinced of the goodness of Jesus Christ, I am forced to agree with Reinhard Bonnke
“The oppressed need the Gospel to bring them liberation, salvation, to end hostilities and to stop bloodshed. It is even more urgent than economic aid and charitable concern. It is urgent anywhere, east or west, north or south.” – Reinhard Bonnke
And so my prayer is this… that He brings me forth as refined gold in 2010 to do His will in this hurt world…
Job said ‘When he has tested me I shall come forth as gold’ (Job 23:10). Testing does not make gold. Fire is not alchemy to create precious metal, it only smelts and releases it. The gold within Job would come forth as pure humanity, the image of His Maker. It is there, but in the state of ore. God means to get rid of the dross, the devil-stuff, the falsehood, the soul-trash. He wants us transparent as gold.
God never gives up. He made man in His own image and likeness but sin distorted it like a face reflected in disturbed water. Yet He perseveres. He’ll recover that image, bring out the pure gold. We all have a glittering future. ‘It does not yet appear what we shall be’ (1 John 3:2). ‘For those God foreknew he predestined to be conformed to the likeness of His Son’ (Romans 8:29). Nothing could be greater than that. Be blessed. REINHARD BONNKE
In Matt. 11,28 Jesus says “COME TO ME ALL…” Here is a personal “come” for you and me. Of the 12 apostles only one jumped – Peter. With it Peter had rung the bell with the Lord. Well, he got wet in the process, but he had learned to trust the Lord. As I type these lines,
I feel this is a very special word for someone bogged down half his life. Don’t let the new year be like the old. Dare to jump! Dare to trust Him! C’mon, jump into the strong arms of Jesus. “You shall not die but live and declare the works of the Lord.” Blessings, REINHARD BONNKE.
I’m going to jump. Who is coming with me? 🙂
And to all visitors, thank you for visiting this blog and for encouraging me.
God bless you! Mark.