I love to spend an hour or two in this deliciously time-passing, time-wasting, time-waiting-for-my-favorite-shopper, totally blissful way. I learned the art from Donna’s Dad who was a master practitioner.
My Dad-in-law, though he never went to university, had his Masters in PO (People Observation), with a PhD in Discernment. He could sit and watch people for hours, identifying all manner of characteristics that average Joes like me would never have noticed. Which leads me to wonder how he ever let me in the gate so I could corral his favorite daughter. Must have been my charm.
I suppose the Super Bowl of people-watching would be held at Disneyland. Settling for a lesser venue (far, far from the Magic Kingdom), a little over a month ago on a wintry day, I patiently waited as Donna went Christmas shopping in a mall near our home. I sat down in the midst of a sea of shoppers.
Speaking of Christmas shopping, Donna is a master at it—no that’s not right . . . how about, she’s a mistress at it? No-no, even worse. OK, she’s very skilled in shopping. (For an accurate description of her true character and many giftings, read Proverbs 31; but kindly exclude verse 14a.)
So there I was, comfortably seated between rows of garishly-decorated stores. It was captivating, as perched on my ‘island’ lookout, and with this ocean of humanity swirling around me, I surreptitiously glommed my fellow beings.
Many were still bundled up from the arctic gales raging outside, while others had cast aside their outer layers. All flowed past my vantage point, some swiftly and purposefully and with heads held high; a few drifted along aimlessly like flotsam on an incoming tide. Towing or being towed, barging through or just floating along, bobbing about like incoming waves, they swept past me.
They came in all colors of the rainbow, all sizes and shapes; earbuds in, smartphones out, texting or talking in several languages; piercings and tats galore. Just normal people. Everyone looked just like you and me. Soon, I realized that amongst all the jostling Christmas shoppers thronging the mall, I did not spot one single movie-star-type person. Not even close. Yet storefronts shouted, “BEAUTY FOUND HERE!”
Who was the most beautiful of all? My pick was an innocent and fresh-faced teenage maiden from a nearby religious order. She was gorgeous, she was beauty personified; she was ‘made-in-the-image-of-God' beautiful, light years from Hollywood’s concept of beauty. She seemed to me to be at peace, a sort of tranquility glowed from her.
And so I started reflecting on how blessed I am to live in (relative) safety and peace . . . there are so many places in the world where I could not sit relaxed in a crowd, where I would have to be vigilant, suspicious of others and on guard all the time.
History, geography, heritage and other factors lead us to the kind of society in which each of us lives today. Peace is a much-desired and sought-after condition, yet will there ever be peace while we humans are at war? At war with ourselves—and at war with each other. Peace is not a natural human condition. To be at peace with God and man, we must have the Peace of God. Read Romans 7; it's about the war within.
If like me, you live in a place where fear is not your daily companion—granted there is no totally peaceful place anywhere these days—have you ever expressed gratitude to God and others for this happy condition? So many of us don’t give it a thought. We take what peace we have for granted. Just like all those Christmas shoppers.
And yet despite their laughter and chatter and outward appearances, I wondered how many were really at peace—with God and with themselves.
Peace is possible, even in our time. Thank you Jesus, that you brought us peace.
Wisdom & Truth
If I dishonor those around me, I rob my own life of significance because I am actually declaring that I am surrounded by worthless people. Tom Marshall
The only limit to one’s humility is wisdom. The deep things of who, where, when, why and what about yourself—or anyone, or anything else—can only be shared in an environment of complete trust and security. Otherwise they’re gasoline for the flames of gossip.
Jesus is Lord over politics; he is Lord over economics; he is Lord over the legal system and over the earth and the nations and over the cosmos. He is Lord over every single human being whether they confess him as Lord or not. You see, we don’t make Jesus Lord. God made him Lord. What we do is confess him as Lord. He is Lord with or without us! Reuben Munn
Hudson Taylor said, “I have found that there are three stages in every great work of God: first, it is impossible, then it is difficult, then it is done.”
"The Missionary," a short video narrated by Loren Cunningham
In June 2006 I wrote about "Eternity."
Again this month, the Lord wants us to be reminded that we should be living for eternity. I've been 75 years here on earth, but will spend countless trillions upon trillions of years in eternity with God.
We were created by God for relationship with Him, but many have turned their backs on Him here on earth and will not spend eternity with Him. A fool says in his heart, "There is no God. In all his thoughts there is no room for God." [Psalms 10:4; 14:1; 53:1]
We've read about people who have been taken to heaven or hell and when they came back they never lived the same as before. I've been with people who are dying, and they have said to me, "If only we had lived for Him in our daily lives." These people will be in heaven but may have real disappointment that they didn't live for eternity.
We get rewards here on earth for what we do, but we will receive far greater rewards when we see Jesus, for the things we weren't rewarded for here on earth. So if you feel you're not being recognized by man or rewarded by God for your sacrifices here on earth, be encouraged; God sees every little thing we do for Him. He hears every prayer of the righteous person.
Our works will be tested by fire. If those works survive we will get our reward. [Read 1 Corinthians 3:10-15]
Living for eternity when we will see Him face to face, keeps us from foolishness. Self-centered foolishness is living for NOW. God sees our hearts. No one can judge us by our outward appearance, all of us will stand before God. We don't live for rewards but we will be rewarded. "Behold I am coming soon! My reward is with Me, and I will give toward everyone according to what He has done." [Rev 22:12]
Success is often perceived by the way society sees it, rather than how God views it. The world looks through eyes that are temporal, not eternal. What is our heart's motive for doing what we're doing?
My friend, run the race with perseverance, stand firm in your faith and keep your eyes on Jesus. Remember what Paul said: "I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith. Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me but all those who have longed for His appearing." [2 Tim 4:7-8]
Love and abundant blessings,
July 06-12: Sweden, YWAM Restenäs, with Mariette Louw
July 20-26: Romania, Prod near Sighisoara, with Donna Jordan
July 21-26: Norway, YWAM Skjærgårdsheimen, speaker TBA
Aug 03-09: France, YWAM Champagne, speaker Edwin Fillies
Aug 17-23: Switzerland, YWAM Châtel, speaker Dan Baumann
Aug 24-30: Italian Alps, near Turin, speaker TBA
Registration for Sweden, Romania & Switzerland are now open at www.intouchcamps.net
For information on 2014 Camps in Europe, click here
And Finally . . . Their Battle Cry: “Others!”
This stirring story comes to us 100 years after it happened, into a time in which, “Me, Me, Me!” seems to be the battle cry.
In May 1914, two years after the Titanic sank—ripped open by an iceberg—the great ship Empress of Ireland left Quebec City bound for Liverpool, England. At 1am, in dense fog, while cautiously inching down the 35 mile-wide St Lawrence River, a Norwegian freighter sliced into the mighty Empress, sending her to the bottom in 14 minutes—so fast there was only time for three lifeboats to be launched.
Of the 1477 passengers and crew, 1012 died. On board were 167 members of the Canadian Staff Band of the Salvation Army, of whom 159 perished; not one of the lost Band members whose bodies were recovered, was wearing a lifejacket. Survivors testified how these Salvationists ran from person to person, selflessly giving away their lifejackets saying, "I can die better than you."
Their battle cry was, 'Others!'
Till next time,
The Small Print
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