Our Struggles, Our Gifts.

Song of Solomon 2:15 “Catch for us the foxes, the little foxes that ruin the vineyards, our vineyards that are in bloom”

Riding into work this morning, I was listening to a commentary on Kevin Clash. I’m sure most of you know that Kevin Clash is the voice behind Elmo.Anyone that has a toddler in their life at anytime knows about the most popular character on Sesame Street. Well he has been in the news a lot this week because he was accused of having inappropriate  relations with a boy who was underage. By now you know that the accuser recanted and the story is now known to be false.

Kevin has been endowed with a gift, which is to  voice Elmo, he has been doing it since the 1980’s so I’m quite certain it’s not just a job but what he has been gifted to do and kids fell in love with Elmo. Now his struggle with homosexuality seems to have made center stage and all of a sudden the ‘character’ seems to be questionable. I heard people on the radio, Christians I might add, saying they will throw away all the Elmo toys their kids have. Or they will never bring that “mess” in their house again. Long story short there was quite a number of people who could not separate his struggle from his gift.

Disclaimer here, I am in no way a  supporter of  any act that is not embraced in the bible,but this brought two questions to mind. Are these ‘Christians’ upset because of what they think is the magnitude of his struggle or the fact that he has a struggle at all? Since is supposed to be the voice behind a character our kids love.

  We all have little foxes which are those struggles the we children of God tend to overlook because they aren’t that “big” likeun- forgiveness, spirit of malice, temper issues,gossiping and the list goes on.They ruin our vineyards. No matter how much we sow, those little foxes eat at our hard work.

 If it came out that his struggle was that he was a shoplifter(thief) would the reaction be the same? As for my second question, do we put people on such a high pedestal that’s its impossible for them to fall? Why would we have a perfect expectation for a human that is imperfect and only saved by grace. I’m not just talking of Kevin, but of everyday people we come in contact with; coworker, choirmemeber, family memebers etc

Are we able to be non-judemental enough, tolerant enough that we are able to seperate a person’s struggle from the gift God has given them.?

Afterall the old adage goes ” God does not call the qualified, he qualifies the called”

Be Blessed

Unoma

Copywrite 2012

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All Glory Belongs to Him…

John 11:4 “When he heard this, Jesus said, this sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.”

The first time I read the story of Lazarus as told in John 11, I took it at face value, didn’t see how it related to me. We all know the story, Jesus’s good friend died and He raised him from the dead. When Jesus was told of his friend’s illness the reply he gave seemed strange to me when I read it at first. To me it sounded like “O well he won’t die but the end result will be for my glory”. But with the knowledge I have of my sweet Lord and Savior it had to be more than that. Sometimes I get it at once; sometimes it takes days of re-reading the passage to get it. Well recently I read that chapter again and I had what Oprah Winfrey would call an “Aha” moment, I understood it all. At least I am pretty sure I did and wanted to share because it reminded me of a situation I had to go through earlier on in a job I had. I’m sure many of you can relate it to a particular season in your life but here is my recount and interpretation of the story.

Have you ever been in a situation where you ask for something and it seems like God isn’t handling your request as fast as you would like? Well, I have, there have been times when I think that a particular situation will be the end of me if something is not done to get me out of it now. But we all know that God’s ways are not our ways. For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. (Isaiah 55:8). Just got a new job and had this co-worker who at the time it seemed that she would not be at peace till I was frustrated out of the door. Every night I would come home and ask God to please remove me from that situation or remove her, but for one whole, long, excruciating year I had to endure this situation because to me God did nothing. Every morning I go to work and I’m thinking …yes today is the day I will hear that she has been transferred but give it about an hour she would pop up and the never ending drama will continue. I was brought to the point that I stooped to her level and as a Christian, I knew in my heart that I was disappointing God with my attitude but if He didn’t do something by getting her out of the way then I would- by fighting back.

Just like what Mary and Martha told Jesus when He finally arrived to the village, in John 11:22, Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” And Jesus’s reply was what He wished for then and now and that is to TRUST and BELIEVE that He got it, as in (John 11:40) Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?”. We all know the popular cliché- He might not there when you want him but he is always on time- well that’s pretty easy to say when you are not in the situation but in actuality it’s so true. He knows that whatever it is will not “cause your death”. So if He doesn’t show up when He you want him to it’s for a reason and that is so that He might be glorified. Do you know what it would mean if every time we called on Him, he did exactly what we wanted when we wanted?? In, my opinion there would be a lot of swollen egos because if we didn’t have to wait or endure we would give ourselves the glory and not where it belongs which is with the Almighty God.

Anyways my story, just like Lazarus’s ended well.  There was a sudden re-organization and she didn’t work in my department any longer and you know what He does get all the glory, because when I’m encouraging someone else about a similar situation, I start the story with….To God be the glory, I was in that situation…………”

Be Blessed,

Unoma

Copyright2012

In the Meantime..

Jeremiah 29 vs. 11, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future”

Oh how I love that verse. In earlier days after finding Christ, anytime I didn’t get what I wanted from God, when I wanted it,  I would use this verse to encourage myself that it will come just how I want it because as the verse said “….plans to prosper you….” I would read that and be encouraged after all, what I wanted was all that mattered (now I can’t believe I had that mindset). For a couple of days or even weeks, I would be the ‘most righteous’ Christian chick out there, singing and praising like no man’s business, with the belief that ok, now very soon the thing I wanted so bad will come through after all …”plans to prosper me”. Whatever I wanted at the time in my mind was just the thing to make me prosper. Days, weeks, even months will go by with me keeping the ‘faith’, but I still didn’t get what I wanted. So I will go and read that verse one more time, then couple it with what Jesus said, if   we humans give the best to our children how much more the Father? You know the verse….Mathew 7:10  “if you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him”. Putting those two passages together, I will be encouraged to push on a little further.

In the end, sometimes I will get what I want, sometimes I won’t. When I don’t, get whatever it is I thought would make me prosper I will sulk and not pray for days, but just like the prodigal son (well daughter in this case), I will find my way back to Him. Why? Because another need has presented itself- you know we humans are constantly in want of one thing or the other. In times like this I tend to forget all the good things He has already done, the fact that I’m alive, healthy, have a job, a roof over my head, a family, can walk, see, hear, taste, smell and other numerous blessings often taken for granted.

Sometimes we forget to praise Him ANYWAY, in the midst of whatever we are going through or whatever it is we want and haven’t yet received. The story of Job is a very popular one; it tells us how a man though stricken with all kinds of adversity, unwarranted for that matter stuck strong to his faith, refusing to curse God regardless of what He is going through. I’m quite sure that any of us going through adversity will not actually ‘curse’ God but I’m certain that we will, just like I used to do…push Him to the curb or just sulk till we get over whatever it is we are trying to get over, then we are back again wanting more, – a never ending cycle of fickleness-#realtalk.com#.  Job’s response to his wife’s demand that he curse God and die in Job 2: 10 was that if we rejoice with God in the good then why we can’t do it in the bad. Being a wonderful Father, He knows what is best for us, Jeremiah 29vs11 says He knows the plans He has for us, not the plans we have for ourselves, but the promise is we shall prosper and have hope for the future. I’m also reminded of Hannah who stayed steadfast and kept the faith year after year of not getting what she wanted- a child.

 The ‘big’ question is how do we conduct ourselves in the meantime? Before we come to our ‘promised land’ how do we act? Do we act flaky like the people of Israel before they entered the Promised Land, letting every wind of adversity sway us to the left or right, or do we stand firm like Job and Hannah? Knowing that HE is the I AM that I AM, the Beginning and the End, the Alpha and Omega, the ever knowing God who commanded the universe be formed with just spoken word. Job had everything but God took it away and despite pressure from friends and family he stood firm and steadfast believing in the Lord his God. Hannah didn’t have that child yet but she trusted in God with the knowledge that someday her prayer would be answered,

Ok yes , we haven’t gotten that job, that husband, that contract, that promotion, that house, that child, or whatever it is that you are waiting for or going through…..God sees and HE knows, just as He told Jeremiah in 1:5,“before I formed you in the womb I knew you, before you were born I set you apart…….” your plan and His plan just might not be the same or it isn’t time for the plan to come to pass. The challenge is for us to be steadfast and hold on seeking, praising and thanking Him wholeheartedly while we are in our meantime.

Blessings..

Unoma

Christianty VS. Religion

“Whenyou cant hear his voice please trust His plan”….I love this line from the Smokie Norful classic. It reminds me of the story of Job. Once in a while I like to refer back to the book of Job cos it teaches or reminds me to be grateful and trust in God.

In reponse to critism by his friends,  Job in  8:7  said  “Your beginnings will seem humble, so prosperous will your future be”  and he was right because in Job 42:12 we are told that “…the Lord blessed the latter part of Job’s life better that the former part ” We will still struggle and slip up from time to time in our walk with Christ. This trust things is sometimes hard to get all at once, after all that what makes us human.

 I’m in not where I want to be with trusting Him to bring me out of whatever Im facing but I am far better than where I came from. Sometimes as Christians we become weary but we esp. women have to learn to encourage and not tear down each other during our struggles. Let’s not get so religious that we forget to practise Christianity.

My prayer is that we encourage one another to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer”–Romans 12:12

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