Monday, December 21, 2009

Humility Through Words....

As Christmas approaches, we are likely to be receiving, as well as giving, many gifts, kind words, and gentle actions. Often times, a seemingly humble heart tells us that we definitely do not deserve these gifts. And according to culture and our humanity- filled thinking, voicing that fact is vital. However, upon speaking those words, we are actually hindering the true spirit of humility from shining forth.

By saying that we are so unworthy of gifts, praise, and kind comments, we walk a dangerous line of cultivating pride, self-centeredness, and false humility. We may not intentionally be harboring these seeds within our hearts, but we often times mask the small roots by our elaborate and denying thoughts and words. Our words are direct reflections of our hearts. What comes from our mouths must first be bred within our hearts. Therefore, we should strive to let God fill and change our hearts into pure ones so that our words may also represent that of purity.

As our mouths speak phrases such as “I do not deserve such a gift” or “I should be the one thanking you,” we are instantly directing the conversation right back to ourselves. Instead of simply accepting the giver’s words or gifts, we feel obligated to inform the giver about our short comings. We direct the conversation from their heart-felt praise or giving to what we think about ourselves. This not only brings us to a self-centered attitude, but it also can make the givers themselves feel unworthy or unknowledgeable in their kind-hearted actions.

However, it may not even stop there; this snow ball may keep rolling and building. Pretty soon, our self-centeredness in these responses can build into a feeling of pride. Or, these responses may very well be the result of pride. Our seemingly humble responses direct the conversation back to ourselves and away from the very change that has made us who we are, God. What we say about ourselves becomes more important than what we have said or should say about God. Upon the build up of this self-centered pride, we then become people displaying none other than false humility. This is a very dangerous place to be in because it often blinds us to our pride and our self-centeredness. It becomes even more dangerous because the surrounding community often fails to catch and confront us with this false humility. In their eyes, our long, drawn out responses appear to be humbler than the person that just speaks a simple ‘thank you.’

Do not be deceived. If one’s heart is truly filled with humility, with heart-felt gratitude, with love for others, it would seek to be a blessing to others with its words. And the best way to do this, when receiving gifts or praise or anything that we feel we do not deserve, is to simply say ‘thank you.’ We should not focus on our own unworthiness, our own faults, or our own mistakes. We should simply have a heart that is focused on God, one that has no other words to say except ‘thank you.’ We should not focus on our pride and fall into the trap of displaying a false humility to those around us. We should instead step forward and contradict the rules of culture. We should be filled with simplicity, with love, with appreciation; all of which is voiced with a simple ‘thank you.’

Even more so, we are worthy. We were made worthy. The gifts we receive this Christmas season are nothing in comparison to the gift given to us from the ultimate Giver. Because we have received His gift, we are all cleaned and made worthy. One of my dear friends pointed this fact out the best in her heart-felt blog post.

However, I would like to add a disclaimer here. There will be times when an extended ‘thank you’ is proper, and even necessary, in order to let the gift-giver know that their gift or comment is truly appreciated. But, the key here is that the ‘thank you’ itself should be extended, not that we should turn around and focus the conversation on ourselves. Secondly, our thank yous to our Lord and Savior may very well be tear-filled and full with thoughts of unworthiness, as it is indeed true. But, in most situations, a simple ‘thank you’ holds more weight and value than all the words one can muster up to describe one’s gratitude.

Therefore, I challenge each and every one of you to step up and greet this Christmas season with true humility. To seek to bless the givers with your words, to let your words of thanks pour from a humble heart, and to not be afraid to simply say ‘thank you.’

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ode to Winter

Soft, delicate crystals fall from an ancient sky,
gently claiming a spot nestled between other flakes.
A blanket of cold freezes the soft mud through
and the weakened sun reflects off the angled,
softened ice. The glistening ground moves
as the gusts pick up, hastily lifting a traveling
chain of sparkling specks. And sweeping them
across the barren plains, the flakes pile gently
upon striped and weathered bark; forming a
picturesque forest of white and brown. Slowly
shifting, moving, sweeping, the snow settles into
uneven piles and banks. Occasionally, an animal
smears the beauty with pawed stamps and mars
the crisp smoothness. Not a bird is heard, not a
creature stirs, only the whispering of swaying trees
and talking winds holds the attention of the Universe.
Calming and peaceful, winter inhabits the earth.

Why so much peace? Why so much silence? The beauty
such a season holds, captures a heart and soul; like the
brilliance that will shine from the Lord’s face upon the
day His kingdom will fully reign. It holds the breath-
taking resolution and invites one to lay its hands upon the
flawless surface and heart. The snow draws us near
to the pure white throne, no longer marred by sin and
animals. Invitingly, the branches pull one’s weeping
heart into a holy embrace. Winter restores the purity
and simplicity that loses meaning with time. It incites
a feeling of longing and holds the ultimate satisfaction.
It gives to whoever willingly receives its truth and
clings the willing recipient close.

Winter is more than a season; it is more than a sight.
It has feelings, longings, hopes, and dreams that it
longs to instill in each person’s heart. Upon the earth,
God has bestowed a gift; a direct representation of the
One who has reigned, is reigning, and will reign eternally.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror, why do I see,
Such ugly things staring back at me?

Why do I see an ugly body and unfit face?
Why do I feel such disgrace?

My reflection is not what I am meant to see,
But it just keeps staring right back at me.

Go away, go away!
The mirror is not the answer and it will lead me astray.

Instead, I must look inside,
The place where the Holy Spirit hides.

He is always fixing that reflection,
But according to the mirror, inner beauty has no dimension.

Cover up that glass
And say good-bye at last.

Then look inside,
That’s where the real beauty abides.

He made the heart first,
And He filled it with so much wonders that it might have burst.

The treasure is found within,
Where all desires, wants, and needs fill the golden tin.

The Sculpturer forms and shapes it bit by bit,
And makes all perfect things evenly fit.

Listen to His voice and give Him your heart,
So that He can make it a work of art.

The mirror is not the answer,
All it provides is self-degrading cancer.

But, the answer is found in He,
He who holds my heart with much glee.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Lord...What Path Will I Choose?

Lord, I see You now, but what about when the troubles of life set in?

Will my faith remain
or will it die from within?

Will the light of hope burn vigorously
or will it be snuffed out?

Will I rejoice when the trials come
or will I cry out in doubt?

Will I look elsewhere for encouragement
or will I come running to You for strength?

Will I stop to rest
or will I run the trial’s full length?

Will I hunger but find nothing
or will I find everything but not hunger?

Will I follow the right path
or will I become a helpless wonderer?

I know that You will be there for me but will I turn towards
or away from You?

Will me focus remain
or will it break in two?

Will I become so exhausted that I faint
or will I renew my strength while You hold me upright?

Will I go forth in victory
or will I give into my fright?

Will I turn to You for wisdom
or will I turn to myself?

Will I look for answers in Your Word
or will I let it sit on the shelf?

Will I be on my knees, praying for direction
or will I continue walking, relying on my own guidance?

Will I stubbornly stumble along the wrong path
or will I cop up to my own blindness?

Will I continue to love those around me
or will I look on them with hate?

Will I resist the evil temptations
or will I take the bait?

Will I cry out in joy
or in pain at what things there are to gain?

Will I forgive my enemies
or will I let my anger reign?

Will new roots of knowledge sprout
or will they die in a sudden drought?

Will the thought of You bring new life
or a painful cry of self-doubt?

Will I take hold of Your walking stick
or will I throw it aside?

Will I turn away from You
or to Your plan will I abide?

Will I look forward to the end
or will I long to begin again?

Will I guard my heart from worldly desires
or will I let it be blown away by the wind?

Lord, when those times come, help me to follow all Your ways,
Help me grow in my very little faith.
Help me to place in You my trust,
And not let my morals turn to dust.
When the evening of the day comes around,
Help my hope to become abound.
With a great leap, I will follow Your plan,
And I will let myself become apart of Your clan.
My love for You will shine from my face,
As I continue to experience Your wonderful grace.
Your hand will wipe my tears away,
And in Your presence I will long to stay.
For Your glory will fill me with awe,
So much so, the You will have to close my jaw.
As I stand before You now,
To my knees, I will surely bow.
And joy will fill my heart and I will praise You out loud,
While again I bow down.
So, Lord, with all that said and done,
I will come to You at a full run.
I will always look forward, never back,
And until I meet You, my pace will never slack!

Monday, October 26, 2009

I See Not...

The trees sway and the prairie grass bends to touch its roots, yet I see not what moves it.

The fallen leaves dance across the ground and the clouds wonder across the never ending sky, yet I see not what moves it.

The flower petals quiver with beauty and the curtains behind open windows flutter, yet I see not what moves it.

The waves ripple the shores and the sand swirls around the rocks, yet I see not what moves it.

The swing glides to an aimless rhythm and flag forms wrinkles upon its fabric, yet I see not what moves it.

Loose stands of hair slither across my face and my clothing shifts left and right, yet I see not what moves it.

Whispers fill the emptiness and nature brings forth its music, yet I see not what I hear.

Roaring harshly with anger and filling the gap between thunder, lightening, and rain, yet I see not what I hear.

Gentle, soft rustling ends the silence and the wind chimes make song, yet I see not what I hear.

Hope brushes my face and my faith returns, yet I see not what carries it.

Love washes over me and strength is given to me, yet I see not what carries it.

Peace comes in abundance and laugh boils in my throat, yet I see not what carries it.

My breath is stolen away and my heart leaps out of my chest, yet I see not what takes it.

My pride escapes my grasp and my grudges fade into nothingness, yet I see not what takes it.

I cannot see it, but I can feel it, I can hear it, I can taste it.

It provides me with faith in my Lord, with absolute certainty that He is watching, listening, holding.

It is a daily reminder that faith is not something to be seen, but rather something that makes itself present in every other way.

It is what I listen to for music and it is what I listen to when I need to hear His voice.

It is the wind. Blowing, blowing, fading, fading, but always and ever present. It is the wind.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

The Trickling Waters

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The water falls with random precision
Each droplet spills the results of a made decision.

Combining and flowing together to make up an irreversible whole
Each deed becomes a part of a person’s soul.

Soon forms a small puddle
Full of each person’s life all in a muddle.

But every choice and every effect
Makes each tiny puddle seem so abject.

It will never form a bigger picture
For each droplet is only worried about filling its own pitcher.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

Now the water falls faster and freer
Each droplet surrounds the others and becomes steadily bigger.

These new droplets have a larger purpose
Attempting to go beyond the solutions that seem so obvious.

Forming a large lake, soon to be an ocean
All because they refuse to follow the median.

They follow a Lord that is everlasting
And their message and words keep on ringing.

Throughout time and space, always sounding
In the deep, dark corners they keep spinning.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The droplets now turn into a trickle
As steady streams of Christ-like love flows and their purpose becomes non-fickle.

This now steady stream of water
Forms the body of the ultimate Builder.

Each Christian, each Christ-like action
Is a droplet of water looking for a connection.

That connection is found within the Church
As each individual completes the never-ending arch.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The trickling water is more than droplets.

It is a whole of a person lost and without purpose.

It is a group of people joining together to sound a message.

It is, finally, the body of Christ made up of all the combined individuals.