For those of you who don’t know, I have started another blog in addition to this one. It is called “Mrs. Hacker’s Life Hacks: A Mom’s Healthy Life Tips told by her Daughter.” If you are interested in learning about healthy lifestyle, head on over to http://www.mrshackerslifehacks.com to read our first two posts. We’d be so excited to have you. Thanks!
Why does Jesus instruct the disciples to shake the dust off their feet when met with those who do not welcome them or listen to the Gospel? How many times have you given someone advice they didn’t follow or tried to reason with someone who is irrational or shared the Gospel with someone only for them to reject it? Our lives are full of situations and people we cannot control. What are we to do to keep it from destroying our peace?
Several years ago a man from Louisiana came to teach the staff where I work how to improve customer service. I must say, his metaphors weren’t really relatable for a room full of Bay Area urbanites, but one thing I will never forget him saying, partially because it was so absolutely unexpected, was “don’t wrestle a pig.” His statement was supposed to address a difficult customer. What happens when you wrestle a pig? Well, I’ve seen my niece do it. She was trying to catch the pig, so she got in the pen, approached the pig slowly, bent down, and wow, did that pig ever take off as fast as he could go. So my niece did what any young farmer would do, she tried to corner the pig. It turns out this pig was too small to corner because he ran right between her legs. Seeing my niece’s frustration, my sister got in the pen to help. Well, that just made things more complicated. When she finally did catch the pig, she could only hold on to him long enough to take a photo, and then the pig was off again, the whole time squealing as loud as he could.
Perhaps trying to convince someone of the truth when they’ve already made up their mind or decided they don’t care, is like wrestling a pig. It’s no use! You just get your feet dirty. Maybe that’s why Jesus told the disciples to shake the dust off their feet when they’ve met someone who doesn’t welcome them or listen to the Gospel message.
Jesus knew that if the disciples tried to control the person or town they were trying to influence, they would only push them further away and cause themselves more pain. That’s why this is mentioned several times in the New Testament, three of which are in Matthew 10, Mark 6, and Luke 9. If you’re like me, you even lose sleep over a disagreement, misunderstanding, or situation you can’t control even if you have tried time and time again to reconcile. We cannot always agree on everything, and just because we wish we could all get along doesn’t mean we actually do get along. Even Jesus didn’t get along with everyone, and we know he was sinless. Sometimes getting along is the worst thing you can do because sometimes the right thing to do stirs up controversy. Sometimes the right thing to say is too hard for the other person to hear.
Those are the instances when we must press on and shake the dust off our feet because, as your mother always said, it’s simply not healthy to go to bed with dirty feet. It’s simply not worth giving up our peace.
When flying, before take off, you will always hear the flight attendant remind parents and caregivers to put their oxygen mask on first before helping their child or dependent with their mask. The reason they do this is to remind parents and caregivers that without their life source of oxygen they cannot help those that depend on them.
In the same way, we must first make ourselves pure and blameless before God before going to him with prayer requests. One way to do this is through the ACTS prayer technique that someone taught me years ago. “A” is for adoration, telling God what you adore about him, his characteristics, what makes him your heavenly Father. “C” is for confession, the admission of sin and turning away from sin. “T” is for thanks, the expression of gratitude to God for all the blessings he provides, including some of the seemingly yucky stuff. Lastly, “S” is for supplication, the requests we ask of God, for ourselves and others.
Notice supplication comes last. Why is that? Everything leading up to “S” is to make us pure and blameless and to give glory where glory is due.
After we have prayed through ACTS our hearts will feel more ready and prepared to touch the lives of others and to be God’s instrument. So, the next time you try to help someone back on their feet, get on your knees and put on the oxygen mask of adoration, confession, thanks, and supplication.
Yesterday I attended a class for work. When I first walked in I felt awkward. It was all directors, managers, coordinators, analysts with their work laptops, typing so fast the keyboards were practically smoking. Immediately I felt intimidated and even questioned my ability to successfully participate. Here I am an administrative assistant with my little green padfolio that was a free giveaway several years ago. How am I supposed to effectively participate and accomplish big things on my project?
What’s the first thing almost anyone does in an awkward situation? Eat! (I’m not saying it’s the healthiest way to go.) Fortunately breakfast and caffeine was provided, and I was actively fiending for coffee. I grabbed my food and made my way past the typing zombies. I was practically twiddling my thumbs when the instructor passed out “fuzzy sticks” or as I call them, pipe cleaners. Hmmm? This looks interesting. This looks like something that doesn’t require a laptop. I looked up, now eager for class to start.
“First things first, put away your laptops, cell phones, and other electronic devices. I want your full attention, and if you get bored keep your hands busy with some fuzzy sticks. I don’t care what you make as long as you are participating in the class.”
Okay, I’m definitely relieved.
“Now choose a partner.”
Immediately the anxiety returns. What if nobody picks me like in high school P.E. when I was the last picked for every sport? Fortunately the nice lady in front of me spun around and asked me to be her partner.
“Now what you are going to do is interview each other, but you are not yourself, the other person is you, and you are the key stakeholder for your project.”
It’s hard to put yourself out there. It feels awkward, nerve-racking, stressful, and sometimes it conjures up that feeling of crawling under your desk and hiding. As if it is not hard enough to open yourself up to criticism and input from a stranger at work, it’s even harder to do so with a friend.
After being paired up and discussing my project I found many places I had fallen short that I wouldn’t have seen looking in on my project alone. There were things my partner was doing way better than me and vice versa. There were even areas where we were both failing, and we got to discuss how we could both improve. Our teacher even suggested that we follow-up with each other in a few weeks to see how our projects were progressing.
We can do the same in our personal lives. We can lay out the facts, what we’ve done, where we know we’ve fallen short, even where we feel we’ve improved or succeeded, but we don’t see the full picture until we’ve invited others to give their perspective. You might learn something about yourself, and you are sure to learn something about the other person. Hopefully this leads to you being on the same page, and if it doesn’t, you know you tried your best.
What’s attractive? Ask a woman, and she might say tall, dark and handsome. Ask a guy, and he might say curves in all the right places. When it comes to being attracted to people overall, I think it’s more than physical attraction.
My last post was about family, specifically church family. Later a friend reminded me that family is more than our biological family, and it’s more than our church family. She said it another way, but I heard it said recently, that we can see God in all people. It doesn’t matter if they are Atheist, Jewish, Muslim, etc. God created all people, and therefore they were made in His image. It is possible to see God in even those that deny His existence.
There is a common thread that links us all together whether we like it or not, and it’s our Creator. I love my friend because I see Jesus in her in so many ways. I see it in the way she is sensitive to the needs of others, in the way she celebrates my victories with me, in her creativity, and in the way she loves. It doesn’t matter that she is not Christian because I still see God in her no matter her belief system. Because I love God so much, how can I not love her?
If we limit our spiritual family to only those who are on exactly the same page in their faith, then we alienate nearly all Christians not to mention people of other faiths. When we include those that have other faiths or have different views than our own, even within our own denomination, we open our hearts to loving more of God’s creation. The family circle was never meant to be closed. There was not meant to be a periphery of those of different religious views. Otherwise Jesus wouldn’t have commanded us to go forth and make disciples. When you close the circle, you close the world to the kind of love only God can offer.
To my friend, I love you because we have the same maker and I see Him in you. I hope you understand this statement, and see it as the compliment that it is. You were made in the image of a perfect God.
Are you willing to love someone despite their religious preference?
Whether you are single or have a family of four, when you enter into relationship with God, you also enter into a family of believers. It doesn’t matter if you were looking for an extended family. You found one.
During the last several days I have spent a lot of time with my family. Wednesday night we sent one of our sisters off to Virginia to be with her family during a trying time. Like a family, we shared in her sadness yet we celebrated knowing her. We look forward to the next time we will see each other. Thursday night I attended Q Commons, a conference about improving the community we live in. Guess what! I met more of my brothers and sisters. My family continues to grow. Friday night I surprised my former church family by coming to their church Moon Festival potluck. The hugs and friendly greetings made me feel right at home. Yesterday morning I met my sister Sharon at the beach to watch her husband swim in a two mile race. We cheered on my dear brother as he crossed the finish line. Today I went to church where I got to celebrate God’s grace and mercy with even more family. I met new people, new brothers and sisters.
A church is not a gathering of people where you just go for a few hours to fulfill your religious duty for the week. It is a family that celebrates together, cries with each other, prays over its members, carries one another through the hard times, encourages, shares a meal, cares for its community. A family that no matter how many miles or how long it’s been since they’ve seen one another, they’re still family.
Time and time again I find that when I run into a fellow Christian on the street, no matter how long it’s been, you just pick up where you left off, and if you left off in a bad place, you move past it. It’s the way God transforms people, he helps us put our egos down and helps us cover each other with mercy and grace.
Thank a brother or sister for the ways they have supported you, appreciate you, loved you. It will mean so much for them to hear it.
Why is it so tempting to look at the number of days lost to sin and shortcoming when in fact the quality of life gained through salvation is much greater than that lost by sin? So much of my life is spent counting the number of years lost to mistakes, when I have gained the generous gift of eternal life. Why does my mind reel around the possibilities of yesterday instead of enjoying the present?
I believe God created me to be a critical thinker. It helps me on my everday work. He must have thought, “Chelsea will be good at solving problems and paying close attention to detail.” Unfortunately Satan looks at this gift from God as an opportunity to infect my mind with the kind of critical thinking that is critical of me, and in turn, critical of others.
Well, today I put my foot down. Satan will no longer use what was made for good to destroy me. God made me in his image, and though I fail, he made me new. I was born again, and guess what, in his image! Satan cannot change that. Yes, I make mistakes, but God has already washed me clean.
From now on I will give my thinking to God, that it may be used to solve problems, not make them.
What God-given gift is Satan trying to rob you of? Examine your life. Is he turning a blessing into a mess? If he is, give it back to God, and declare that it was never a curse but a blessing.
A friend of mine is very talented in the field of business. Satan robbed him of this gift by planting seeds of greed in him. Satan lied to him, telling him he would make more money of he sold drugs. Another friend with the same talent accepted the lie from Satan that he could double his money by gambling. Each of these friends remain trapped in sin because they believed this lie.
Don’t let yourself believe that your gift was meant for sin. God will use your gifts to make you prosper eternally. You may not be the most financially secure, but you will be secure in your salvation.