The Window Of Self-deception Needs Cleaning

One of the seminal manifestations of ego running amuck is the curse of self-deception.  Telling ourselves that a certain thing is true and being unable or unwilling to be aware that it is actually untruth can go on for a lifetime.  Unfortunately, our growth in that area comes to a screeching halt and we languish in that self-deception indefinitely.

Maybe it is a small thing, that does not do serious damage to the quality of our life, something we might refer to as a small white lie.  Doing the math, however, says that it has a pretty good chance of being more than a small thing, in which case the damage can really affect our lives.

Ego always demands that it be fed and it matters not who has to pay for that meal.  It tells us that we are really good in some particular area and it is alright to feel good about it.  Usually, that is a positive attitude and it is alright.  But, sometimes it is a lie, a total fabrication that make us present ourselves as better than we actually are.  And, most often, ego demands an element of competition, we are not just good in that area, we are better than others in that area.  That was the sin of the Pharisee who said in the temple, “Thank God I am not like that unclean man standing in the back of the temple.”

Ego has been described as the dominate cause of conflict, both personal conflict and national and international conflict.

If only we could be healed of ego, or exorcised of ego, or delivered of ego.  But, alas, we cannot.  Our only tool is to be aware of our ego.  Once we expose it, we have a chance of defeating it in that one instance.  But, it will lurk in the shadows looking for another chance to deceive us into thinking we are better than we really are.  If we are not aware, then we become prey for the curse of self-deception.

Dear Lord, help me to clean the windows of my life so that I can see truth as it really is, and especially, Your truth.

Speaking Things Into Life

When God created the earth He spoke them into existence.  He said let there be light and there was light.  When we pray and He answers in ways we can’t even imagine, we often find that circumstances affecting our situation have changed and we are tempted to say, “Well, I guess it just worked out after all”.   Yes, it did work out, but it worked out because God spoke to our situation a word that created the new thing.

We certainly are not God, but even the worst of us has a little piece of God in us.  So, is it really that hard to imagine that we carry a small portion of God’s ability to speak to a situation and change it?  He said, “If you had faith the size of a mustard seed you could say to this mountain, move and it would move.”

The phrase, “Be careful what you say, because you might get it” comes to mind.  Or, we have all heard the term self-fulfilling prophesies.  It means if we talk about something long enough it sometimes comes true.  Thus it is not too much of a stretch to think we do have a small faculty within us to speak thing into existence, as well.  God is powerful enough to speak huge things into existence like light and continents and seas and the like.  Our power is minuscule, but we can speak much smaller things into reality.  If we believe that, then we should all be very careful what we say.

Dear God, please give us the wisdom to know the things we should say and the things we should not.  Make us aware of those things that need to be changed in our lives and give us the insight to speak that change into existence.

Laughing At Someone’s Fear Is No Laughing Matter

When we hear of a specific fear felt by other people, we can become incredulous about their fear.  We ask, “How can you be afraid of that.”  Worse, sometimes we actually laugh at their fear and make fun of them for submitting to their fear.

Didn’t Jesus tell us to ‘fear not’, and ‘perfect love casts out all fear’, we ask.  Where is your faith.  Don’t we believe His words?  The obvious answer is, “Yes, I read His words, and even use His words to bolster my sagging faith, but when I am gripped by fear His words go out the window”.  In the grip of an anxiety attack, faith takes wings.

The cardinal sin in all of this is to dare to laugh at another’s fear. Laughing at another’s fear is an exercise in egoism.  In doing that we set ourselves up as superior to them at a time when we should be helping them come to grip with their fear.  We should slip our arm around their shoulder and comfort them.  In due time, God will show them the way to overcome their fear.  In the meantime, let our role be one of support rather than feeding our own ego at their expense.

Oh, Lord, please help me to show compassion and support to someone caught in the grip of fear.  Show me how to help them.  You are our Lord, and You want all of us to walk in the strength that Your love gives us to help others overcome their fear.

God Is Present In The Oncology Ward, By Anonymous

Where do I see and recognise God’s presence? Where do I see the imprint of God’s hand?

God is present in the Oncology Ward where I work. Patients arrive for their treatment, tired and apprehensive. They are newly vulnerable, and their expensively acquired market skills are gone for now. Yet their eyes fill with tentative hope of the beginning of healing. This is a different place to any they have known.

With the help of a caring staff, they learn to relax in the presence of their fellow patients. They remove wigs, hairpieces and jewellery, and expose poor hurting bodies. For the time they are here, they allow themselves simply to be who they are. As the medicine enters their bodies, the feelings of trust, hope and love are tangible all around. No market place here – simply pure and humble dependence – on God, on science, on the loving kindness of others.

The trappings of the commercial world do not help when we are at our most vulnerable. We need not dress our poverty in the ways of the world. We can trust, simply trust that in the Oncology Ward we are in our Father’s house. There we are welcomed simply as we are. There we are in the hands of good people, escorts of healing and grace, whom God has sent to us. It is all right to be poor.

by:  Anonymous Oncology Ward Nurse Posted on Sacred Spaces

Are You A Skimmer Or A Borer?

We humans are a varied mixture of talents, weaknesses, inclinations, insights, purposes, etc.

We share many things in common with one another, but we also have our own ‘bag’ so to speak that makes us unique.

One trait that does separate us is how deeply we delve into a subject.

Some of us are skimmers.  We skim over the top of many many topics and know a little about a lot and go deeply into only a few.

Some of us are borers.  We ignore the many different topics but bore down deeply in the ones that interest us.

Each tendency has advantages.  Those who skim make good supervisors.  They know enough about a lot of things to keep their team moving forward efficiently.

Borers know a great deal about a few things, but others can count on them to go deep enough to complete the job.  As someone once said, somewhat derisively, a PhD knows more and more about less and less.  Derisive intent or not, the statement holds some truth.

Both tendencies complement each other.  Each calls the other to be their best self.

Determine which you are, a skimmer or a borer.  Know which your friends are and appeal to them in their strength.  Call them to be what they are best at.

In His divine wisdom, God has created us to need one another to bring about His kingdom.

PS:  How do you relate to the Lord?  Do you relate to Him as a skimmer and know tons of stuff about Him at a shallow level or are you a borer who bores deeply into relationship with Him?

Lent: A Time To Forgive

All of us know that we should forgive those who have offended us.  We’ve heard messages like, “If we don’t forgive someone it is really we who pay the price, not them”.  Or, “Holding onto an offense and not forgiving another is tantamount to holding poison in our mouths and trying not to swallow”.

In a general way, forgiving another person for their offense toward us is the smart thing, the right thing, the Jesus thing to do.  So, why do we have so much trouble doing it?  Well, it’s one thing to agree with forgiving in the general way, but quite another when it is up close and personal.  Somehow, when we are the victim, normal logic does not seem to apply, and those who say it does, do not really understand our plight.

Actually, I believe it is really much simpler than we want to admit.  We hold on to our wounded selves and refuse to forgive for one reason only – by not forgiving we ‘feel’ like it is our revenge against the other person.  “How dare they hurt me, we think,  I’ll show them.  If they think I am going to forgive them they have another think coming.  I’m holding onto this upper hand.”

With that kind of distorted logic, we totally miss the fact that Jesus forgave those who crucified Him.  He said, “Forgive them Father, they don’t really understand what they are doing.”  From that very first comment forward, He has appealed over and over  to the Father to forgive us for the same reason.  When we offend Him by our sinful actions, He does not hold on to forgiveness as some sort of distorted revenge against us.  Rather, He forgives us and appeals to the Heavenly Father to forgive us as well.

May we use this Lenten Season to search out those we have offended and ask for their forgiveness.  No excuses.  No reasons explaining it away.  Just, “I’m sorry, will you forgive me?”  And, may they use that occasion to ask our forgiveness for things they have done.

Wow, what a powerful Easter that will bring!  Pass it on, if may be contagious and lead to changing the world – at least our small part of the world.

Lent: “Unless A Man Goes Into The Desert…”

R. Lessard once told a group of students that he could paraphrase the whole of the Old Testament with one sentence.  Then he stated the following: “Unless a man goes into the desert alone, and often to hear My voice, says the Lord, I will make a desert of his life, so that My voice is the only one heard.”

With this one statement, Lessard, captured the spiritual journey of the Israelites.  During the periods when they were fervent they drew close to the Lord and obviously heard His voice to them giving them directions on how to live, keep the law, and even win wars with their enemies.  They lived in such a way that they did hear His voice giving them wise counsel.

During the periods when they were not fervent, chasing after strange gods, and were not listening to His voice, they did not have His wise counsel and they did not live prosperous and victorious lives and their enemies overwhelmed them time after time.

The message for us is to take the time to be still and quiet, ie, go into the desert and draw close to the Lord to hear His voice and we will live victorious lives.  Lent, with its call to fasting, abstinence, and good works, is an excellent time to do this.  The alternative is to go our own way and follow our own wills and end up wandering through life with little purpose and little success.

We should be careful how we tell others that we want to hear His voice, yet fail to be still and quiet and give Him a chance to speak to us.  He may take us at our word and quiet everything around us by grinding our lives to a halt, and there, speak to us from the silence.