3 Things People Are Watching

If you have a cell phone, email account or use the internet then you are being watched. Your movements, conversations and personal information are being recorded and stored by any number of computers. We have been warned about this but sometimes it still comes as a shock when people find out that information sent out over digital networks isn’t private. Then again, have we ever really had complete privacy? ‘People watching’ is as old as humanity itself. We watch each other, in subtle ways.  We notice how other people dress, what kind of car they drive and how they treat their children. For better or worse, people are watching you. Your children, your neighbors, your co-workers and folks you don’t even know. It’s not the age of the internet that causes this it’s always been this way. People watch other people and we learn from one another. We are living in denial if we think people don’t notice us. As Christians we should be conscious that others are keeping an eye on how we live and represent Jesus. Jesus himself reminds you to “let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” (Matthew 5:16) So what are people watching? Our Actions – How do we treat other people? Do we show kindness, gentleness and love? Are we honest and true? How do we handle problems? Do our words match our actions? Or, are we guilty of saying one thing and doing another? People watch for hypocrisy.   Our Attitudes – Are we judgmental towards others?   Are we considered a positive or negative person?  Do we look like we have the joy of the Lord or do we look like we suck on lemons? Is it obvious that we get hope and inspiration from our faith? Our Acquaintances – What kind of people do we hang out with? Are we known for being associated with good company? Who influences us with their lifestyle and behavior? Do the people we spend our time with share our values and focus in life? Whether we like it or not – people are watching. The question is, ‘What do they see?’ Therefore be imitators of God, as beloved children.” Ephesians 5:1

The Best Invitation You'll Get Today

I get a lot of invitations and offers. People running conferences and seminars fill my inbox with glowing information about how their event can change my life. I get invited to meetings where the organizers want to introduce a product that I won’t be able to live without. I’m asked to try out new software that will help me get organized and make my life easier. Quite frankly I am skeptical of invitations and promises that amount to little more than over the top advertising. No conference has ever changed my life and no software has solved my problems. Their claims are simply too good to be true. I get tired of them. But there is one invitation that I can’t resist. Whenever I read it I want it. God’s wonderful invitation is found in Isaiah 55:1-3, “Come, all you who are thirsty, come to the waters;and you who have no money, come, buy and eat!Come, buy wine and milk without money and without cost.Why spend money on what is not bread, and your labor on what does not satisfy?Listen, listen to me, and eat what is good, and you will delight in the richest of fare.Give ear and come to me; listen, that you may live. This is the best invitation you will get today. It’s an invitation to take part in the life of God’s Kingdom. It’s an invitation to our hungry and weary spirits to stop wasting time on things that don’t matter and to give our attention to the Word of God. It’s an invitation to enter into the presence of the King who promises to meet all our needs. It’s an invitation to rest and enjoy life. So can you stop for a few moments today and accept that offer? Can you allow God the time to bless you with his goodness? Why work at things that can’t satisfy? Just take the offer and enjoy it. Let it refresh your soul.  

Ask, and it will be given to you

I was the quiet kid in class, the one who didn’t like to raise his hand. I never wanted to volunteer an answer in case I was wrong. But what was worse was that I never wanted to ask a question for clarification even when I didn’t understand what the teacher was saying.  I just couldn’t bring myself to voice a question. It’s taken me many years to understand some things about myself. This I know – I have trouble asking for help. That’s no surprise to the people who know me best. I guess I don’t want to appear foolish or weak. As if asking for help means someone is weak. Ironically, my inability to ask for help is one of my greatest weaknesses. It’s funny because I admire people who can ask for help. I don’t view them as weak or needy but rather honest, direct and straightforward. But when I step up to ask for help I am fearful and incredibly self-conscience. It’s as if my throat closes and refuses to let out a sound. So when I come to Matthew 7:7 I have a struggle: “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.” Jesus makes it so simple. The way of the Kingdom, the way of salvation is simply to ask. Jesus calls me to slow down and humbly admit that I live much of my life with unanswered and unknown things. I have a long list of questions I want to ask and questions I want answers to. Jesus is willing to help me with those questions if I am willing to trust his leadership and guidance. He reminds us that God is like a Father “who knows how to give good things to those who ask him.” (7:11) Some people are afraid to ask because they were taught not to. Others simply talk too much and love sharing their own wisdom so much that they don’t have time to ask a question. There are people who have asked their questions before and felt condemned by others and so have stopped asking. Whatever our reasons, whatever our sinful conditions, we must keep on asking our questions to Jesus. So ask Jesus to help you ask.  You don’t have to have the perfect words. Just speak your question to him. If you can’t, just ask him to help you. And remember that he is always the first answer to our question. His presence in the midst of our unsolved questions is the first step to resolution.