How is it that a small word or two of encouragement can make all the difference in a person's day?
One compliment can turn the tide for another person's day or week.
One blessing softly and sincerely spoken can lift a downtrodden spirit.
A brief prayer can evoke the release of a flood tide of emotion cleansing the soul of a broken life.
One "You can do it" can be heard and acted upon to catalyze change in an entire community or world.
One hand placed gently and firmly on a shoulder can transfer courage and strength.
One compassionate gaze into the eye of a lonely heart struggling to express what is hidden deeply inside can bring relief and hope.
One word or two. That is all it takes.
One moment of caring.
One pause to refresh another.
It costs us so little and gives so much.
How we see and treat others may depend upon how we see God. That will also determine how we see ourselves. Our vision of God, growing out of scriptures, prayer, and experience, shaped and refines our view of all things and of all people.
Prayer does not change God, but changes the person who prays.
— Søren Kierkegaard
There is a vision of God and humanity that emerges from encounter with God and a view of God in the face of Jesus.
Do you see a mean spirited, angry God?
Well, I've met God and He looks like Jesus.
He stared into my eyes with love and forgiveness.
Our symbols shape our view and they encourage us to shape our lives around their meaning. The cross is such a symbol, but it must be more than a symbol.
My friend got me thinking about something.
There are lots of protests for and against the cross as a symbol of Christianity being displayed in public places - as a symbol, or even as a decoration. It made me think
Jim's excellent question was, "Just where is the cross lately?"
My musing answer was, "Hopefully, it is on our shoulders. I think we sometimes think the cross is a symbol or a decoration rather than something we are called to take up daily and bear --- that it is always bearing, as did Jesus, the burdens of others. I suspect that if all Jesus followers would do that .... well, you can finish the sentence ."
So, I am going with this thought. If all the symbols came down and all the decorations disappeared, would the cross still be visible in America?
Would Jesus followers bear it into the streets of our cities? Into hospital rooms? Into jails and homeless shelters? Into homes and workplaces? Would it be visible in our selfless services? In our willingness to suffer? In our willingness to forgive? In Our love for people that Jesus loves?
The right to display the cross is not in the hands of any government or anyone outside of ourselves. the display of the cross in entirely on the shoulders of believers who decide to bear it upon their shoulders.
Are we taking up our crosses daily and going on display?
Just thinking ... and praying...
And asking myself as well.
One Fearless Dude
We choose our heroes and villains based upon their personal charisma or our deepest values. They either encourage us to be our best or satisfy our desire to be affirmed for what is worst about us.
In September of 1419, John the Fearless, Duke of Burgundy is assassinated by adherents of the Dauphin, the future Charles VII of France.
What might have happened if he had been less fearless?
He has been called, "A rash, ruthless and unscrupulous politician."
He was actually involved in negotiations for an alliance with Charles.
This sort of thing happens when you are at war for 100 years.
I am sure they all thought it was perfectly logical.
I stand too far back in history to be able to judge the man or his legacy, but here are two heroes in whom I find encourag3ement:
“You will know as much of God, and only as much of God, as you are willing to put into practice.”
― Eric Liddell