Sunday, November 28, 2004

Our King

"Are you the king of the Jews?" asked Pilate.
"Yes, it is as you say," Jesus replied.
Mark 15:2

Americans are entranced with monarchies—kings, queens, princes, princesses, dukes, duchesses. We love our country and its founding origins but we are still watchers of royalty. Blood lines have always been traced and given as descriptions of who the person is to the outside world. Our Lord was a direct descendent of the Father. How can any title compare to that? No title given to Jesus could reflect his true character except for the simplest of words: Son. Jesus did not want any of the power and circumstance associated with the title of King. His purpose was to show the people the love of God and be the obedient Son. He was not here for the glory; he was a simple man who so loved his people that he gave his life for us. The robes, the finery, the title were of no importance. Why do we place such an importance on our robes, finery, and titles? If the true Son—the perfect man—cared nothing for these things so why do we? Growing up I thought about the titles I hoped to one day have: Ms., Mrs., and maybe Dr. I now see that the only titles I should care about are daughter, sister, mother, aunt, wife, and friend. Our true relationships should grow daily as we work for them and not toward titles that give us nothing.

Prayer: Jesus, you are the greatest of Sons. You dedicated your short time on this earth to being the perfect Son. You honored your Father in all you did. Please help me honor you and your Father. Please help me with my relationships and my walk. In your name I pray. Amen.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

How do you grow?

My husband says I have a big heart but that I don't show it to the world. He says I like to be seen as tough and hard. I know he's right. The world is a difficult place and the more resilient you are then you can survive better in it. It's similar to how plants have a zone in which they grow best -- the perfect soil, water, and sun for that particular plant. How we grow in the Lord's presence may be similar to how we grow in all things.

Some people require a good soil or foundation for putting down roots. The richer the soil, the more fertilizer or friendships, the stronger the roots. I have friends who focus their lives around their families and friends. It truly grounds them so they have a rich and strong system for anything that might come up. When you transplant a tree, you must work hard to package the root system so the tree can survive in its new environment. Like the root system of a tree, this type of person is best when the environment where they are planted is conducive to growth and stabilization. A person who incorporates God in to his or her foundation is someone who is developing a strong and solid bond with Him.

Other people thrive because of the nourishment they receive. There is a delicate balance between too much and not enough. Have you ever seen a plant look strong and green one day and practically wilting the next? What is not obvious to the casual observer is that the plant needed water and possible a little reinforcement in the form of fertilizer. But let's consider this: a plant doesn't request nourishment; you have to know it or read the signs well. Wilting in people can be seen in many forms including depression, anxiety, and anger. By carefully observing those that need nourishment, we can provide a pattern of encouragement and love. So how is too much nourishment harmful? If you overfeed something it doesn't have room to explore and grow on its own. Give people the opportunity to explore things for themselves. Our Lord works through us if we listen carefully to the instructions. The growth will be there.

We all know that there are sun-loving plants, plants that prefer shade, and even plants that change their character with no sun at all. Sun provides energy which allows a plant to sustain itself for specific periods of time. If a plant or person needs sun or large amounts of energy for sustenance, they would feel weak when there is only a little light coming in. Some of us store the energy from the outside world quickly and we only need it for a short amount of time while others need this energy all day long. God is behind all this energy and how we absorb it can be as different as night and day.

I'm sure you've been wondering who I am. Well a plant doesn't exist without all the components in some form or fashion. I would say that I have a medium root system, need a deep watering about once a week, and love partial sun. I like to be challenged to grow. I see myself as a hardy plant--not a lot of glitz or show but consistent with broad leaves. Think about how what you need to flourish and grow. Every plant is different just as every person is different. Look at the beauty in others and see what you can do to help them grow steadily.