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For What, Would You Sacrifice?

Trapped under mounds of rock, furniture, and people, a baby is held up to the light, where rescuers take her from her mother and rush the two week old to the hospital. Risking her own well being and possibly her own life, the mother chooses her daughter, Azra’s rescue, over her own rescue. A child who could not walk, talk, produce a product, bring in money for the family. A small being that  had no achievements, to speak of, and who could not do one thing for herself.  She could not even climb out of the hole that rescuers made for her.
 The mother denied her own rescue to save a child who had done nothing to deserve value or worth.  The world might look at that situation and say that the logical thing to do would be to save the mother first.  She could have more children and besides she had skills and others depended on her.  The mother would, in the logic of the world, have more value that a baby.
Yet every mother knows that there is something in us that will sacrifice our own lives to preserve the hope of our children having a good life.  The hope that they will live well, love God and country and give back to their community.  The hope that they too, will have children for which they work hard and care for, abandoning thoughts for themselves.  
Even mothers with children who have gone astray, or have debilitating handicaps, have hope that one day they will return to the way they were raised. Perhaps there will be a new medicine, or surgery, or perhaps God will intervene as He sometimes does, and heal them. This Hope is an eternal spring that never runs completely dry.
Hope is the expectation that the good we are looking for will, and can be obtained.  There is Hope for our future.  Jesus gives Hope.  When we were like little Azra, Jesus delivered us out of harms way.  He allowed Himself to experience the peril of death so we could stay safe from death and have an opportunity for a good life now and a good life to come. To have the opportunity to teach the next generation of His hope.
Job 13:15 “Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” NAS
Though the world may crumble around us, He is our hope, and we are His children.  Live today knowing that you are living in the blessings of Christ.  There is Hope for your future. 
Jeremiah 29:11 “For I now the plans that I have for you’, declares the Lord, ‘plans for welfare and not for calamity, to give you a future and a hope.’” NAS

Diane W. Bailey: Open Your Mouth

Diane W. Bailey: Open Your Mouth: I would like you to meet a friend of mine, her name is Kimberly Smith. Kimberly has been a missionary to Sudan and Congo while a civil war …

Working on Perfection

Setting goals and accomplishing them is something I am good at doing and I am impatient in the wait.  It truly cranks my tractor to set a goal and accomplish it.   I’m a perfectionist, which means nothing is truly perfect in my eyes, because it could be done better.  This is sad, but true.  Do you have areas in your life like this?

This weekend we had company in.  We had been looking forward to seeing them and having time together.  I put flowers in different rooms, and set out towels in an attractive way for them.  There was a table full of food for the weekend, events planned as well as time to watch our favorite games.  I did not sit down with them for very long because I wanted to make sure everything was perfect for their time here. I also became exhausted.

This morning I was excited to find in Matthew 5: 48 “Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.” NAS

 “How exciting,” I think,  “It is okay to be a perfectionist.”  I began to work in my mind, my plan for having the perfect hair, the perfect words, perfect punctuation, the perfect outfit and house.  I will encourage my family to be perfect. 

I will be just like Mary Poppins, who once said something like, “Mary Poppins, practically perfect in every way.”  I will be a perfect example of Christ.  He did everything perfectly and so can I!

Then everyone will love me, admire me and everyone will want to be my best friend.  At this point my “perfect-self” decided that I needed to perfectly understand the meaning  of my new favorite Bible verse,

 of Matthew 5:48.  So I began to look the words up in the Greek.
Be Perfect: Teleios (5046)  To be adult, full-grown, to fulfill a goal for which you were intended. (Lexical to the New Testament)
A cross reference-Ephesians 5:1-2 “Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children, and walk in love” NAS
Wait a minute! Perfect means to be mature…in loving others… not making things, or people, look or act perfectly.
To be perfect, or to be mature is to love like Christ loves, with forgiveness, with grace and mercy. It is to smile at little things that are not like we thing they should be.  They are little things!  We need to focus more on being relational rather than perfectionist.
Sometimes I get so wrapped up in my own goals, that I can believe they are God’s goals. As a tractor plows a field, there are times when achieving the goals and plowing full speed ahead, can leave people (or relationships) dead in our neatly tilled rows.
Throughout the New Testament we read Jesus’ words calling people to love.  Love.   God is Love.  To be like God is to love with a powerful love.
To be perfect is to love like Christ, who is the manifestation of the love of God.  Christ obeyed God, all the way to death.  In that He showed the perfection of love. 
1 John 2:5 “but whoever keeps His word, in him the love of God has truly been perfected.”

My goal today is to slow down, speak life into the lives of others, smile, laugh, play and love.
How are you being made perfect?  How are you showing the Love of Christ?

In What Neighborhood Are You Living?

Nothing can really be said.  Nothing can really be earned.  Simply a choice one makes to be able to move forward.  A gift, that is given willingly, whether or not it is ever acknowledged, is between the receiver and God. 

To withhold the gift is like crimping off a water hose.  Water that brings living water to a dry and crumbling land.  To remove the crimp allows living water to flow and brings new life.
A gift of new life, that gives first to the giver, then to the receiver.  God’s ways are so different from our own.  To receive we must give away, to live we must die, and to gain we must consider it all loss.  To be forgiven, we must forgive.
Forgiveness is a gift, which is given but needs to be activated.  It is not enough to receive, but it must be received and given away to work.    Like pulling the plastic out of the watch to active the battery, we must forgive others as He has forgiven us.  We must take action with the gift to receive its power.

Forgiveness is a lifestyle, it is a neighborhood you live in.  It is the light that shines in your face and gives others the impressilon that you have a perfect life, when the truth is that you have struggles like everyone else.  It gives Joy and Peace that is unexplainable outside of Christ. 

“Be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving each other, just as God in Christ also has forgiven you.” Ephesians 4:32 NAS

Diane W. Bailey: Listening to the Rain

Diane W. Bailey: Listening to the Rain: Raindrops gently tap on the windshield of the car. The sweet fragrance of rain filled the air long before the first drops had beg…