Sunday, August 21, 2016

Lovely Feet

The rain was coming down in buckets. I waited for it to let up and hoped that the life group meeting would be cancelled. Patrick was working late at school so I was alone in this adventure. Minutes before the meeting, there was still no change of plans, either from God’s weather or our group leader’s choice for the meeting, so I went.

Rain continued to pour down hard as I parked the car near their mailbox at the end of the driveway. I opened the door just enough to poke my umbrella through and pop it open. I still got wet. The umbrella shielded some of me as I reached into the back seat for my bible and the platter of veggies I had brought for the dinner. Thunder and lightning made me hurry my pace all the while trying to be careful not to drop the umbrella, my keys, bible or the food.

Around the front of the car, the gutter was over flowing with water. It was not muddy, but it was wider than I could jump, especially with hands filled. The water crept up the drive and also out into the street. So I looked for another way. I thought that the grass might have soaked in some of the water so I decided to tiptoe around the grass to higher ground. That was a mistake! The umbrella hit the mailbox and went askew! I grabbed for it and everything else in my hands. I just barely held on. Meanwhile, I had stepped into mud that had soaked my shoe and about six inches of my pant leg. ARG!

On the doorstep, I was met with helping hands to grab my belongings, but I didn’t want to enter the house with muddy feet. I asked my friend for some paper towels. She ran to retrieve her supplies. I slipped off my shoes when she handed me the towels and I went to work cleaning them off. She bent down and began to wipe my feet! She carefully held my foot in her hand and wiped it free of the wet dirt clinging there. A picture of another foot washing came to my mind and I felt so humbled. She wiped my foot and scrubbed away the mud from my pants. I told her she didn’t need to but she said quietly and simply that she didn’t mind.

This dear woman of God is a humble servant. She could have simply handed me the cleaning supplies and let me clean up while she helped others get ready for our dinner. She kept apologizing, too. Why? She had done nothing wrong. I had made the mistake. I made the mess and yet she was cleaning it up.

I learned a big lesson that night: Humility flows from both parties when feet are being washed. I had to humble myself to admit my mistake, but also to let someone else make it right. My friend saw a need and without question or judgment she bowed down in humility to help. I also saw in her that Jesus, too, is sorry we are in the mess we make by our sin.

I am not sure I expected the response I got from my muddied feet. Yes, I was surprised. This humble woman revealed no fear that I would muddy her floor, but I might have expected her to in this day of the material being more important than people. I was her main concern, not her floor, not the wasted time, not even her own image.

Jesus may not call us to physically wash each other’s feet, but He does expect His followers to have the same attitude He has and that my friend demonstrated so beautifully.

John 13:12 When he had finished washing their feet, he put on his clothes and returned to his place. “Do you understand what I have done for you?” he asked them. 13 “You call me ‘Teacher’ and ‘Lord,’ and rightly so, for that is what I am. 14 Now that I, your Lord and Teacher, have washed your feet, you also should wash one another’s feet. 15 I have set you an example that you should do as I have done for you. 16 Very truly I tell you, no servant is greater than his master, nor is a messenger greater than the one who sent him. 17 Now that you know these things, you will be blessed if you do them.

Isaiah 52:7 How lovely on the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who announces peace And brings good news of happiness, Who announces salvation, And says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"

Father, You and Your Son, Jesus, have shown us the way of humility. You have walked before us and ask us to follow Your example. Please forgive us when we hang on to our pride. Forgive us for thinking too much of ourselves. Thank You for caring enough to wash away the dirt from living in sin. Give us humble hearts to show Your love to all people. Amen.

Friday, August 12, 2016

God's Choice

Some may say that I have a lot of experience in voting. Well, I have voted every time a ballot was set before me so that may qualify me, but even with years of experience, I am still baffled about who I should place my vote in this upcoming election. This blog is not really about the election, nor am I endorsing any candidate. This blog is only about my thoughts as I determine who I should choose.

I am proud to be an American! I take seriously the responsibility of citizenship. My right to vote is not something I take lightly. As a disciple of Jesus Christ, I believe I must be the best citizen possible and remain true to the values I hold dear. This campaign season has put these convictions to the test for me.

In my opinion, it is not wise to listen to news commentators because they often get the story wrong or leave out important parts. I also do not take much stock in the advertisements and junk mail that bombards me with only what the individual wants me to hear. I do take into account the actual words of the candidate IF it is not a "sound bite" because things are often taken out of context. So how can I decide the best man or woman to lead our country and place his or her mark on our lives for generations to come?

I have been relying on prayer more than ever. I listen to God's voice and sometimes He surprises me with His wisdom.

A few weeks ago I was in prayer about the candidates and names from bible stories kept coming to me. Peter was an outspoken , bombastic, foot-in-the-mouth kind of guy. He said so many things wrong, but Jesus considered him a strong leader even changing his name to reflect that. Moses ran away when trouble appeared for him in Egypt and when God called him to lead the Israelites out of Egypt he tried to tell God he wasn't able to make speeches. David was an adulterer and murderer and yet, God said he was a man after his own heart. The only thing Esther had going for her was her beauty and her love of God's people, so God used her at a special time of their history. Paul imprisoned and killed Christians because of his religious fervor and then he was entrusted to take the Gospel to the world. I could go on and on with names of imperfect, in fact, downright sinners who God used to lead and direct His people. The common thread with all these sinners was that they believed in God.

The lesson I came away from my prayer time that day was: Would I obey God in voting for His choice, not my own? I also had to ask myself if I would vote out of obedience to God even if both choices were not, in my opinion, worthy of the office? I also had to not look at the faults of the person. I also was impressed not to look at only the present, but to seek the person who professes a faith in the God of the bible, even though imperfect, that would make decisions that will allow the kingdom of God to grow.

I am still seeking, listening and praying.

Sovereign God, my Father, I know that You hold all government in Your hands. I confess that I have sometimes looked to a man to fix our country's problems instead of You. Forgive me. Thank You for showing me a greater purpose for my participation in this election. Thank You for using anyone who is willing to follow You. Move Your people to obey Your voice as we seek a leader for our beloved U.S.A.