Unless we form the habit of going to the Bible in bright moments as well as in trouble, we cannot fully respond to its consolations because we lack equilibrium between light and darkness.Helen Keller from Jan Karon’s Patches of Godlight
God moves in a mysterious way
His wonders to perform;
He plants His footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.
Deep in unfathomable mines
Of never-failing skill,
He treasures up His bright designs,
And works His sovereign will.
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take,
The clouds ye so much dread
Are big with mercy, and shall break
In blessings on your head.
Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
But trust Him for His grace;
Behind a frowning providence
He hides a smiling face.
His purposes will ripen fast,
Unfolding every hour;
The bud may have a bitter taste,
But sweet will be the flower.
Blind unbelief is sure to err,
And scan His work in vain:
God is His own interpreter,
And he will make it plain.
by William Cowper
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.1st Amendment of the US Constitution
The Danbury Baptists wrote to Thomas Jefferson, concerned that the state was giving them the right to practice their religion: that it was not a natural – or inalienable right. The first amendment states emphatically that government can not regulate religion but does not state that religion is to be kept out of the public.
U.S. Constitution for Dummies by Dr. Michael Arnheim is a good source for understanding the Constitution. Explains it step-by-step. I am not crazy for the “for Dummies” part of the title, but it is very clearly written. (An aside: Don’t give as a present. I once thought I was helping my mother by giving her one of these books and didn’t realize until later the look on her face when she opened her present.)
Have a blessed weekend!
The Bible says that your reputation is more valuable than gold. And I agree, that you have to make wise decisions, based on Holy Spirit’s wisdom. But even that can cause derision, because man’s ways are not God’s ways – He sees the future and knows how to either remove blockades or hold our hand while we plow or tiptoe through them.
But no matter how hard you try to keep your reputation clean, there are mess ups and downright libel/slander. It is the latter I want to address. The mess ups are under the blood of Jesus if we ask forgiveness and a way forward, not looking to the right or left or engaging with those who wish to throw our sins in our faces.
When I moved here, I moved from the Midwest – the Bible belt. I naively assumed that people are pretty much the same everywhere here in America. I did not account for cultural differences. I had made some decisions that were less than stellar, but for the most part everyone saw my mistakes as just that and allowed me to move on with grace. I knew I would be moving to a more liberal state, but again I thought people were basically the same.
After I moved here, God told me to not and I quote, “worship my reputation.” At the time I did not understand this. Curious wording, because I am an introvert and for the most part felt I was free of others opinions of me. I wanted a new start. But He saw my heart and knew I had work to be done in this area. He saw ahead of me and let me know He was in control by giving me fair warning. He knew and would walk me though what I found. On day one.
I am a huge privacy fan, but quickly saw there is none. I have always know this to be true, but it was exacerbated here. I was forced to keep walking. I stumbled much, but God kept me from major mistakes. I will always be a privacy advocate, but there is a silver lining to the lack of it. It forces you to either stay authentic, or expose you as a phony. It forced me to be me.
The second big thing He told me: to be me. Being yourself is right now a revolutionary act. There is no hiding. At all. To not be you is to die inside, to be a dead man walking as they say.
And as for the eyes of the gossipers, don’t look to the left or right. Sometimes that means filtering what you see or hear. Cherish those that God gives you to weather the storms.
For to give in to their distractions is to get your eye off the prize of the high calling of Jesus Christ.
sun’s rays heat my face
sitting on the front porch step
cool breezes follow