Musings From A Musical Mind

Archive for the ‘Kingdom’ Category

Acceptance – Or Just Tolerance

Heard a great Father’s Day message today from our pastor.  His main emphasis was this:  Do you accept people – or are you just tolerant?

It makes you think.  Somewhere deep inside of all of us – is this nasty habit of judging those that are different from who we are – or look different – or talk different – or do things that we don’t do.  The bible talks about this issue much in scripture – and that God is the ultimate judge of our heart and motives – and yet we still think we need to help Him out.

Maybe you were raised that drinking alcohol was wrong. Maybe it was the rules and regulations of the church you belonged to – although for the life of you – you can’t find anywhere in scripture where it actually says that it’s wrong.  It started out as a good idea once upon a time – or maybe had its roots in good upright moral principles – but then it went sideways somehow – and instead of it being a cultural thing or a church background thing – it became something more.  It became a judgement call.  You find yourself looking at those who have a glass of wine with dinner as less than spiritual.  Less of a Christian perhaps.  And they become marginalized. You politely tolerate them – but you do not accept their way of thinking. You do not accept them.  You don’t think they’re really saved.

Maybe it’s an issue of something as superficial as getting your ears pierced – or something else.  Maybe it’s a tattoo.  As was pointed out this morning – if we are going to make an issue out of a scripture in Leviticus about marking our body with a tattoo – then we better be willing to take the verse directly in front of it which talks about men cutting their hair and trimming their sideburns as being a sin.  And of course – that would be silly, right?  But we hold onto what we want to – or what we’ve been taught – and refuse to look at what scripture really means – and take the context and the heart of the message into consideration.  But how many people – especially from an older generation – just tolerate those who pierce and tattoo?  Instead of accepting.

Now accepting means I have to give in – and I have to let go.  And that is my safety net – to believe in something so strongly.  I feel justified.  I feel right.  I am right.  It means giving up that right – in deference to you.  It means swallowing my pride and self-righteous attitude and allowing you to be right.

Jesus came along as a radical to teach us that the Kingdom of God is backwards from what we normally think.  It teaches us to be servants and the lowest of all – when we want to be seen and heard and be the one in charge.  It teaches that we must be willing to forgive – even when we did nothing wrong.  It teaches that you are more important than I am.  That I have no personal rights.  It teaches that I lay my life down for others.  And this goes WAY beyond tolerance – even beyond acceptance.  It means that even with our differences – you are more important than I am.  And I submit to you.

And because God is the final ultimate judge of the heart – then I must lay aside my opinion of you and allow you to work on you – and allow the matter to be between you and God.

Ouch.  You mean – I can’t have an opinion and tell you to your face that you’re wrong – even if you are?  Not if we live by Kingdom principles you can’t.  We must let God do His work – and our job is to love and win others by our love.  There is nothing more motivating than a person who loves – and does not judge.

This is why it does not feel right when Christian brothers and sisters judge one another – and cannot be reconciled together after a grievance.  God is love. He dwells in relationships of people.  We need to forgive each other – and we need to love.

I am praying for you today that you will not just tolerate your brother or sister – but that you will learn to love and prefer them and their opinions and choices – over your own.  Accept them in love – just as Christ Jesus has loved and accepted you.

God Bless

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How Do You Define Success?

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.

Albert Schweitzer

Heard an excellent message on Sunday morning.  The topic: “How do you define success?”  Pastor Greg was speaking from the book of Luke – the portion on “The Beatitudes” – where Jesus is speaking “Kingdom” concepts to the crowd and especially the disciples.  He was speaking things that were in direct contradiction to the way human nature and limited senses allowed them to comprehend.  They always had trouble understanding what Jesus was trying to teach them because it went against everything they were taught – everything they knew.  They saw Him with people – heard Him teach  walked right there beside Him – working crowds of people with such grace and mercy – healing people and dealing with things without impatience or crankiness.  But they still did not understand Him – and they were right there with Him.  Today we still don’t get it – even though we have the Bible – and many writings from scholars and very wise intellectuals to help us be  “enlightened” and “informed” on what scripture said and what Jesus really meant when He said it.  Our ways are so much different from His.  Our definitions of “greatness” have more to do with “power” and “being the best” than it does with being “meek” and “humble” – even “poor in spirit”.  We care more about how we look to those around us – than just simply doing what’s right.  Even though we know from what we read here that the “last will be first” and that success here on earth is very different from success with God.

This led to the question – “how do you define success?” – and more importantly, “how do you define your success?”  What will people say about you will you die?  My husband deals with this all the time when he councils with grieving families – preparing to do a someone’s funeral service.  He will meet with the family and hear their stories.  How does their family remember them?   Was it their spotless house?  Their finely manicured lawn and beautifully landscaped yard?  Did they have many possessions but no happiness?  Did they invest in people?  What do their friends and family say about them?  Do they even have anything nice they can say about them?  Sometimes – there isn’t much nice to say.  Sometimes the person was never able to give love – never showed any compassion to anyone – never had any friends.  Sad, sad, sad.

But the happier funerals have been where the one that passed on was a positive influence – and a happy person – one who had found the secret of success in their own personal life – and lived it out.  Creating a legacy from personal success – a relationship with Jesus – the giver of ultimate joy and peace – and one who surrounded themselves with good people in their lifetime – who learned from mistakes – pulled themselves up time and time again – who would not give in – or give up.  Who loved people and had love returned back to them.  Who was happy in what they did – and was content.

I love the quote at the top of this article – because  I would have to say that success for me is doing something that I feel I have been gifted in – and doing it with my whole heart and soul – loving God,  my family and friends with everything in me – being a positive encourager and lover of people – and finding that all the joy and happiness that is given away – is again brought back to me full circle and running over. That to me – is success.

I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. Philippians 4:12

And like Paul in this scripture – I want to do my best to live this out in my own life.  I know I do not hit the mark all the time – but it is my ultimate goal. I am still learning.  I am still on a journey.  A journey to learn to be contented – and find success through contentment.

I am praying for you tonight – that you too would find the secret of “being content” and also be able to write your own “personal” statement of success.

God Bless

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