Removing Planks

 “Do not judge, or you too will be judged.  For in the same way you judge others, you will be judged, and with the measure you use, it will be measured to you. “Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?  How can you say to your brother, ‘Let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when all the time there is a plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye. Matthew 7:1-5

Today I was on my way to work and stopped off a gas station to buy gas.  As I pulled in I was not looking forward to the fact that I was going to have to get out of the car to stand on sore knees to pump gas.  Pumping gas was better than the alternative which would be having to walk when I ran out a few miles down the road.  (For those of you who don’t know I had knee surgery a week ago and the other knee is scheduled for surgery 3 weeks from today so standing and walking is very painful at the moment)

A few minutes later I had finished pumping my gas and I had my car door open with one leg halfway in the car.  Just then a big rusty beat up old car came smoking and chugging up to the pump next to me.   As the car stopped  the car’s driver, a worn and disheveled looking man was waving at me and saying something which I could not understand.

“What?” I said.  He said it again and once again I could not understand him.   “Not today,” I thought,  All I wanted to do was get in my car and go.  Leg coming back out of the car and hanging on to the car door for support leaned closer and said, “Sir, could not hear you”.

He spoke again this time he was waving a card of some sort but still I could not understand him.  Oh how I just wanted to get in my car and go!  But no it was not going to happen today… by then I had received that nudge…you know the one…the one from the Holy Spirit that says, “Go!”  Slowly and reluctantly I began hobbling my way over to his car,

As I was on my way over I was thinking to myself “T what are you doing? This man looks kinda scary”.   I am ashamed to say now that yes I was judging him.  I guess in my mind I decided that because him and his car were beat up and also he had a bit of a crankiness to him that maybe he could be dangerous.  Add to that the fact that today I was feeling rushed and also sorry for me!  I just wanted get in my car and get off my sore legs but I was in too deep to back out now!

As I arrived at his car door, once again I said, “I am sorry sir but did not hear you.”  By then he was looking as if he was stressed and I thought he may be annoyed with me.  once more he spoke, this time I heard him, He asked, ” Are you going into the store”?  “Nooooo!” I thought, the last thing I wanted to do was go in the store…” No I am not”, I said about the same time as I spied a huge pile of clothes in the back of his car with a walker thrown on top of them.  Seeing the walker made me feel a nudge of guilt but I still said “I just had knee surgery and I paid for my gas at the pump so I would not have to go in.”

He looked at me as if shocked and he replied, “But I can not walk at all”.   So much for getting out of here easy, there was no way I was I ever going to be able to walk (no pun intended) away from this now.

The next words out of my mouth were “what do you need?”  He said, “I need someone to go in the store and get one of the people who work here to come out and pump my gas and take this (he held up gift card)  in to pay for my gas.  I told him I had a better idea, I would  take his gift card in, pay for his gas and then come back out and pump his gas.   He gave me an odd look and instead of saying okay he said, “no, get a worker.”.

Go get a worker….Really??”  as I was standing there looking at him all the sudden a light bulb went off in my brain… he did not trust me!

Here I had sized him up and decided that by his disheveled look,  beat up car and cranky attitude hat he may be dangerous while at the same time he had decided, that I may be a thief and steal his gift card!

Ouch!  feeling a bit ashamed of myself I began hobbling my way into the store.

A few minutes later as woman who worked at the store pumped his gas I was driving off pondering the question – What does a thief look like?  Do I look like a thief?   I also began thinking things like, the man had a walker but he was driving, how did he get in the car, did he scam me into doing stuff for him because he was lazy?  He was also very cranky and never really acted thankful or said thank you.  Did I deserve a thank you?  yep…more judging.

Could it be that maybe we are just supposed to treat our fellow man with kindness regardless of the way they treat us?  Could it be that maybe we are not expect anything in return?  I know nothing about that man or his life, he needed help is all I know and that should be enough.

I have many things to think about and many new lessons were learned today.

1.  No matter how bad I think I have it someone else always will have something worse.  I have sore knees but someone else may not be even able to walk.

2.  No matter how much I think I do not judge others, I still do.  I had sized this man up by his appearance and decided he may be untrustworthy or dangerous it never dawned on me that maybe I could be the one who was thought to be untrustworthy.

3.  GRACE.  I do not know his story and he does not know mine. He is one of God’s children just as I am.  Do I deserve a thank you? A thank you is always nice but the answer is – No.  We should all take care of one another and love one another.  How many times has God done things for me that I did not say thank you for??  The Sun rises and  I have air to breathe, do I remember to say thank you every day?  I should but  I don’t always remember.  some days I spend thinking about what I do not have or what is wrong with my day completely forgetting what is good and to say thank you for that.   I should always extend the same grace to others as God gives to me.

And last lesson learned today….there are always lessons to be learned.

Dear Father,  Thank you for showing me that I still have a lot to more growing to do. Thank you for showing me that we are all your children. Thank you for allowing me to meet one of my brothers at the gas station today and please forgive me for judging him.  Please continue to show me how to not judge others and to be thankful for the many blessings you provide me every day.  Please continue to show me how to always extend love and kindness to all people as you do to me.  Thank you for letting the sun rise today and thank you for the air I breathe.  Amen

 

 

 

Live Second Day 31 Footwash: ~ My Feet Don’t Stink

67002_10151161186412337_1774926524_nDay 31 of My Live Second Journey – Footwash: My Feet Don’t Stink

Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you.  John 13:14-15

Today’s scripture is from John 13:1-20.34-35.  In this scripture the time is shortly before the Passover Feast.  Jesus and his disciples are sitting down to a meal and Jesus knowing the time has come for him to leave this world decides to show his disciples the full extent of his love by washing their feet.

The first time I read this I thought ‘Oh how yuk and weird is that?!  Can you imagine Jesus and his disciples all sitting around the table for dinner and just as the food starts to be served Jesus gets up, takes off his outer clothing wraps a towel around himself, fills a basin with water and begins to wash people’s feet?!?  The thought of washing someone else’s feet sounds pretty disgusting and to top it off he chose to do it just as the food was being served. This would not exactly be my idea of a before dinner appetizer.

We would never think that Jesus who was Lord and teacher would ever have to or even want to wash another person’s feet. Yet he chose to do it and he did it lovingly.  Even the fact that Judas Iscariot had already begun to betray him and Peter was soon to follow by denying him did not stop Jesus from this act of love.

Washing someone else’s feet does not sound very appealing to me and I am sure back in those days people did not have the pampered softly manicured feet we have today.  They did not have cars so they walked everywhere they went. I am pretty sure those guys had some of the stinkiest, smelliest, dirtiest feet around.

This past weekend I had a little dinner get together of my own.  One of my guests was someone I haven’t been liking a whole lot lately.  This person is pretty annoying, very loud, and obnoxious and most of the time drunk so for several years I have been avoiding this person like the plague.

Have you ever noticed how some of the people you know come as a packaged deal?  Maybe your husband really likes the husband but you don’t get along with his wife?  Or you may love hanging out with your Aunt Mable but your Uncle Bud drives you nuts?  Since you can not invite only one of them to dinner and not invite the other they become a package deal.  Everyone loves a package deal when shopping but package deals are maybe not so good when it comes to people.

When my guests arrived I was determined try my best to be kind, friendly and most of all stay away from that guest!  I was very thankful that most the day everything pretty much worked it out to where I was able to stay away from my favorite (sarcasm) guest.  But then somehow after dinner I ended up alone in conversation with the person I had been avoiding most of the day.

I began to make small talk while in my mind I secretly worked on my plan of escape.  Then all the sudden this person began telling me stuff I never knew about them.  In the course of the conversation I found out the person had pretty well hit rock bottom.  They also knew that they had screwed their life up to the point of hurting their health and family.  This person was now stuck in a huge pit of despair caused by their own self destruction had been trying desperately to find a way out.  My heart began to feel stabs of pain.  The pain I felt was not my pain but the pain that this person was feeling inside.  Then I began to notice that to be added to that was the pain of people like me who were judging and ignoring them.

The more I listened I realized that nothing could ever compare to the time that I sat there just listening and conversing with this person as they poured their heart out.  All of the sudden I wanted to give this person my help and love.   This person needed to know someone cared about them and that there is always hope.

This conversation was kind of like a foot washing to me, by taking the time to listen I was in a sense washing this person’s feet.  While washing I began to realize I was giving them my love and compassion and did not expect anything back in return.   Something else I discovered was when I stooped down to the level of someone else I saw that there really had never been any level at all.

How will I live more second today?  By trying to be an example of Jesus’ love, by loving unconditionally, humbly and maybe even washing a few dirty feet… starting with my own.

 The Lord and Teacher became servant.  And he calls us to do the same.  Whatever honor we have earned, whatever rights we have acquired, whatever prestige we hold, Jesus calls us to set those aside and become a servant, an example of love and humbleness’ – Live Second

Thank you for reading 🙂

#IASfootwash

Differences of Opinion With the Same Destination

Since the first day I started writing this blog I have ran into a lot of different opinions about blogging and how blogging should and should not be done, my blog has fit into both of these categories.

The day I published my first post I received my first opinion.  It was not even a live person who gave the opinion; it was the publishing area of the blogsite.  When I hit the publish button to send off my post wordpress congratulated me on a job well done.  From that moment on with every post I make I get a pop up message from wordpress that says “congratulations you have reached post number such and such!”  Which makes me want to pat pat pat myself on the back….(insert eye roll here) Of course I really don’t pat myself on the back but it makes me laugh and wonder why I deserved a congratulations for posting lots of posts.

I have also heard that it is good etiquette to make sure I always reply back when someone comments on my blog.  Does everyone really go back to see if I reply back to them?  I do not go back to check on comments I have made on other people’s blogs nor do I expect a reply back.  Most of the time I do reply back to those who comment on my posts though I do have a life outside of the blogging world so sometimes it may be days that I am not on the blogsite to even know someone has commented.  I never set out to hurt any feelings or not have good etiquette.

We all as people, including myself, seem to have an opinion about anything and everything, some of us being more opinionated than others.  We as bloggers are sharing our opinions with anyone who cares to read them. Let us also not forget the  little comment box that encourages other bloggers to leave their opinions or for those who do not want to comment there is a “like” button.  I wonder why they did not bother with a “dislike”  button?   Isn’t that a scary thought?  having a bunch of gravatars lined up at the bottom of the screen with the words ’25 people disliked your post you should go on over to their site and see what they have written’ 🙂

Because my blog deals a lot with faith type topics and a lot of my readers come from different church denominations and cultures I know that others will not always agree with me or with those who leave a comment on my posts.   I do not claim to be an authority and know that I am not always right.  I am just trying to share here what Jesus has done for me.   Only God is the one who knows who is wrong or right.  There are more important things to do than argue about our differences of opinion.  The more I get to know God the more I know that if I am in the wrong sooner or later He will show me the error of my ways.

Some readers and writers may be newer Christians or maybe still searching for Jesus.  Not all of us have known Him our whole lives.  There was a time in my life that I did not believe in God. Eventually God showed me he was real in watching my father in law die.  You can click this link to read the story if you would like to read it… The Journey Begins.  At that time in my life I was bull headed, stuck in my ways and had a lot of my own opinions about life and how I thought it should be lived.  At that same time in my life I also met a person who was a Christian who was different than any Christian I had ever met.  This person became my friend never looking down on me.  I was allowed to ask all sorts of endless questions and I was always answered with patience and kindness. I was never made to feel embarrassed about what I did not know.  I was shown God in a gentle way never feeling force fed or overwhelmed with information.  Instead of spending time arguing and telling me how I had it all wrong I was shown by their actions that God was all right.  God’s perfect love was shown to me in that person’s kindness and actions.

For us Christians that have not always known Jesus, from the moment we accept him as our savior we head down a new path in life which to be honest can be quite scary at first.  We all stumble, we all fall, He catches us and helps us pick ourselves back up again, dusting us off usually having taught us something new along the way.  He never gives up on us and keeps leading and teaching us more and more as we go along on our journey.

As Christians God gave us the job of spreading and planting seeds to be watered, but only God can make them grow.   We are like flowers in the garden; different kinds of flowers take different amounts of water.  In the heat of the Summer Vinca only need small amounts of water to grow into beautiful plants.  If you give a Vinca too much water they will drown and wither away.  Impatiens are just the opposite, they require a lot of water to flourish in the heat of the summer or they will wither away.  So what is good to help one flower grow may not work for another.  God created each flower to be unique just as he created each of us to be unique.

I guess I am just trying to say here is even here on the blogs where opinions are encouraged we should show others the same grace that God has shown us.   We should show God’s kindness, patience and love.  We never know where someone has been or where they are at right now in their walk with Jesus.  We all may walk a little differently or choose a different path to get there, but we all have the same common final destination in the end.

Ephesians 2:8 For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God

Romans 12:10   Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves. 

Thank you for reading and God bless you 🙂

Jesus First

This morning I was browsing my facebook page and found these two videos in the feed they were so good I wanted to share them.

With Jesus first there is always hope.

Whispering Danny

Shane Kampe

These videos are from the website I am Second, If you would like to watch more inspirational videos from I am Second click this link —> www.iamsecond.com

Friendships Made In Heaven

This blog is from my friend Anne at http://www.freedomborn.wordpress.com/ We always have a friend in Jesus.  He sends us friends to help us on our Journey through this life.  I am so very glad he sent me all the wonderful friends I have but most of all I am so thankful Jesus is my friend. Thank you Anne for posting this for me.

Freedomborn

 You Are Special In Someone’s Life!
  Friends are those ones we turn to when our spirits need a lift and they know we are there for them too and will see them through… 
 
Friendship is a gift we Treasure encouraging and uplifting each other through the
 good and bad… 


 
A True Friend is someone who fills our lives with Beauty, Joy and Grace because we let them have first place…
 
 And this makes the world we live in better and
happier because it’s all about God’s Grace
which can’t be misplaced… 
 This  Miracle called Friendship, that dwells within our heart we need to know how it happens and how it gets its start and then we can know for sure it will continue on…   

 And become a beautiful song, for when we seek Love with our all no matter how big we are or how small,we will know the special…

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Spiders, Airplanes and Fear

This week has been a week of revelation and great joy for me.  A lot of things have been learned these past few days. First thing I would like to say is as I am writing this I am on my way home from a 3 night visit to my favorite place in the world, Jamaica.  I am at 38,000 feet in the air on an airplane without my seat belt on and there is a lot of turbulence at the moment.  I never go with out the seat belt and especially not on a flight with turbulence.  Though I am a travel agent I am extremely afraid to fly.   But for the first time in my life I am not afraid and I finally realize that God is in control of this plane and of my life.

This vacation started with me going to bed on Tuesday night to try to get some sleep knowing I had an early flight to catch the next morning.   As I was just settling down to sleep I looked up and happened to notice on the wall behind my bed my number one biggest fear in the world, a spider. Gosh I do not like spiders.  I think they are absolutely the most creepiest creatures I have ever seen.  Those long creepy legs send goose bumps up and down my spine.  I can not hardly even bare to look at them.  

Upon trying to smash the spider he dropped to the floor still very much alive and proceeded to crawl around behind the headboard of my bed.  I waited impatiently for him to come out all the while keeping my eye on him watching him crawl up an down the wall never quite coming close enough from behind the safety of the headboard so I could kill him. It was almost as if he knew I was there and was messing with me.  He would come out and as I would try to hit him then he would run.  Then to my horror on my last attempted to smash him he went behind the wall trim never to be found again, my worst nightmare!  What was I going to do?  There was no possible way I could sleep with a spider on the loose in my bedroom and so close to my bed!   I just knew if I dare close my eyes for one second he would come creeping out and climb into bed with me.  I decided that was the end of my sleeping for the night and in frustration I laid down at the bottom of the bed so I could keep a close eye on the wall trim where he had magically disappeared to.
As I was laying there watching the trim,  I thought of something my friend Judy had said to me one day about praying for spider grace.  I was planning to go on a mission trip with her next Winter and was told a story of spiders that they had encountered on a previous mission trip. I had told her how I was worried about spiders being there for this one and said I did not think I would be able to take lots of spiders very well.  She had then said to me we will pray for you to have spider grace.  I never really had thought about her saying that again since.  I am not going on that trip now and by the way not because of spiders. That is another long story I may put here one day but not today.  This story is plenty long enough

Anyway… as I was laying there watching for Mr. Spider to come back out I thought about spider grace… I wondered what that could be…but thought maybe now would be a good time to find out so I began to pray. I know that may sound weird to you but I prayed to God to please give me spider grace.  I do not sleep well and on a normal night without any spiders I would have had a hard time sleeping anyway but about 2 minutes into my prayer the next thing I knew I was waking up and it was morning! Spider grace…wow God had given me spider grace! I had just managed to sleep through my worst fear and was getting ready to face my next biggest fear…flying.  If God could get me through spiders I knew flying would be a breeze.

We arrived at the airport and found that the plane was full.  We were flying charter so you get your seats when you arrive at the ticket counter.  We were given 2 seats across the isle from each other.  I ended up with sitting with a couple of which the man was afraid to fly. So at least I had company.  We talked about our fear of flying and it actually seemed quite odd hearing another persons reasoning as to why they are afraid to fly.  That conversation seemed to take my mind off of my own fear a bit.   I do not like take off at all and do not like landing to much more other than it means I am going to be safely back on the ground soon.

I will have to admit at take off I was afraid but I did know that Jesus was with me holding my hand.  I am not afraid of dying but I do have to admit I do not want to fall out of the sky and think about hitting the ground on my way to Heaven.  As we were shooting up into the sky and the fear was building all the sudden I found myself feeling peaceful as if He were whispering to me “its ok I got this” and he did have it.  The rest of the flight I was great. We even ended up in the sky about an hour longer than expected because we had to go around a storm in the gulf.   We landed in Jamaica safe and sound.

The first thing I saw when we left the airport was the slum area.  As always it tugged at my heart making me wonder how it is possible that such poverty can sit on one right there in the middle of a tropical paradise overlooking the dark blue waters of the Caribbean Sea.  Shortly after passing that we arrived at our luxurious resort.  I thought to myself, why has God chosen for me to be on vacation here and those who live here are in such need?   While I was there in Jamaica I found my self finding hidden treasure everywhere the whole time I was there.  I found treasure in small animals such as birds and crabs, flowers and of course the ocean.  I always feel closest to God when I am by the ocean.  I think it’s because when I see it I realize his awesome power.  Did you ever think about how we are floating on a ball through space and we don’t fall off and the water does not pour off? How could there not be God?

The next morning my husband and I noticed a couple who had been on the plane with us coming in with their suitcases leaving the resort.  We talked to each other about them wondering what had happened and why they had cut their vacation short. Did they not like the resort? Did something happen at home?  We later forgot all about them but  then the next afternoon we saw them at the resort again.   Again we talked about them.  We wondered why they left with suitcases and then came back?  They were like a mystery couple.  Again we forgot all about them and continued with our vacation.

Now to today, we missed our shuttle ride to the airport because they had changed the pick up time and we did not know it.  We had to get a taxi to the airport.  Because we were flying charter we did not have assigned seats on the plane and we were last in line.  When we got up to the counter we found out that there were only 2 seats left on the plane that we could have and they were not together.  I did not want to ride away from my husband so asked about the preferred seating.  I was told they had 2 seats not together but across the isle from each other and they were only $20 a piece so we decided to buy them.  With those seats you also get special perks.  One of them being, you get to board the plane before everyone else.

When we began to board I was close to the front of the line to being first on the plane and guess who got pulled for a full search? Ya, you guessed it, ME!   They went through my suitcase, my purse and checked my pockets.  They also gave me a full body pat down while everyone else in line got to go right by me and get on the plane, so much for my getting on the plane first perk.   It was not really my best day so far as you can tell but I do get to sit in the front of the plane and across the isle from my husband so that is a blessing.  As I got on the plane I silently prayed to God?”  Could you please let me sit by someone nice on the plane?”

I entered the plane, had a hard time finding a place to put my carry on because by now the bins were full, but finally I arrived at my seat.   Imagine my shock when I realized of all the people on that plane my seat mates are the mystery couple we had noticed at the resort 🙂  Nobody can tell me that God did not fully orchestrate this whole seating arrangement.

We began to chat and immediately I discovered that I really like these people.   They are so full of Jesus and joy its spilling over into my seat.  They won their vacation from a local radio station but of the 2 full days they had for vacation they chose to bring in supplies for the needy and they spent one whole day going around giving them out.  They visited schools, clinics and homes giving out clothing, school supplies and toiletries.  They are full of stories and just bubbling with joy left over from their visits.

**The captain just illuminated the seat belt sign so much for writing this seat beltless and the turbulence is really rough now. Have to put away my kindle, we will be landing in about a half and hour so will finish this at home on the ground.

Safely on the ground now and its Sunday… hopefully I can remember where I was going with this and finish it up, its no longer a blog its a book lol

During the plane ride home, after talking to my seat mates for a while I listened to music while I read. even slept and of course wrote half this blog.  The plane ride had a lot of rough turbulence that day.  I don’t remember being upset at all even found it kind of fun.  I found out after we got home there was a tropical storm in the gulf that we were going around.  We landed about an hour late again.  I was talking to my Dawn my neighbor again after I had to put away the kindle and quit writing.  A funny thing happened that day.  I was so busy talking to her we landed and I realized I did not pay to much attention that we were landing.  I looked around when we were on the ground and said “oh my gosh!  we landed?” to my husband.   If you have ever flown with me you know I do not miss landings because I am usually digging my nails into my palms of my hands as I close my eyes.

This next thing I am going to tell you is a secret I have been keeping for a while. Most people do not know this about me.  In the past I had used alcohol as a way to escape my problems or to numb pain or fear.  I have never been one to drink on the job or drink and drive or do anything to get myself in to trouble, but alcohol was my drug of choice when needing something to turn to for comfort.  Flying is one of those occasions where I would drink so as not to be afraid. Every bit of turbulence I would have pushed the call button and asked for more wine.

Before this trip I prayed to God to please lead me and show me what his plan is for me. I know it was not an accident I ended up sitting next to those people on the plane.   I also know for a fact his plan for me is mission work and I know I am already involved in it a tiny bit and who knows where its going to end up going.  I can not wait to find out!  I’m sure there will be lots more turbulence and maybe spiders (lol this is so long I forgot I started with spiders) but I am not scared I am excited.  I also know that his plan does not include alcohol to distort my view along the way because it does not give me peace and makes me not be the person I am supposed to be.  Something else I discovered these past few days is that on a plane is not the only place I have found turbulence.  My life has been kind of like a plane ride.  Most days I am flying along smoothly and happy.  But then there are those days I hit a few small bumps but then I recover pretty fast and do not even notice.  Then there are other days that I hit a really rough patch and bounce all over the place trying to get my self back on a smooth path and find I need a call button.  Do I push the call button and ask for wine?  No way! I have the ultimate call button now.  I have a direct call button to God.  I do not need wine because I have Jesus he comes and takes my order, takes my hand, calming me.  Just like on a plane turbulence is always expected.  It won’t ever fully go away and the same is true with my life.   I can chose to be afraid and numb it up with some alcohol or I can truly find real peace knowing He is there helping me to me relax and enjoy the ride.

I have one more thing to add to this, along with the preferred seating I mentioned it came with perks.  One of those perks was I was given ticket vouchers for 2 free alcoholic beverages of my choice I chose a cranberry apple drink and did NOT put the vodka in it.  It was not needed God is all I need 🙂

2 Timothy 1:7   For the spirit God gave us does not make us timid, but gives us power, love and self-discipline.

John 14:27   Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.

Thanks for reading and God Bless you 🙂

The Way You Speak To Me

When I am feeling lonely and weak,

Your the cool breeze I feel blowing across my cheek.

Your the sun shining warmly upon my face.

Your a cloud floating by with smoothness and grace.

Your the laughter of a child.

Your the warmth of a smile.

Your a flower in bloom.

Your the light of the moon.

Your a bee buzzing near.

Your the bird chirp I hear.

Your the smell of the rain.  

Your what keeps me sane.

Your the sound beneath the roar if my life.

Your the whisper that tells me everything is alright.

By:  Terri Siebert 2/25/2012