Here is another one of those cleverly coined, “religiously” repeated, proverbial expressions by Christians that has surfaced over the years. What Would Jesus Do. It is probably patented and has also made someone a lot of money with the wrist bands and coffee cups and cards and stickers. But the truth is, we really can’t always be sure what Jesus would do in any given situation unless we have secured a direct line to his heavenly Father; our heavenly Father. I am sure I will shock a few people when I say that Jesus didn’t always do the right thing in the eyes of everyone. He did the will of His Father.
Most of us in and out of the church have heard the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. But did you know that Jesus waited 2 days before even visiting his dear friend on his sick bed. The bible says Jesus knew his friend was going to die. What could Jesus have possibly been thinking by waiting 2 days. And then to find out, by all apparent reasons, he did it on purpose. Why? It must have just pained Jesus to wait those 2 days. I don’t know for sure what Jesus was feeling. Yes he is the son of God but he came to earth as a human. With human emotions and feelings. But he had to be about his Fathers business. The humanness of Jesus would have made him want to react right away; not wait. “ I got to go, I got to go now. Lazarus needs me”. But Jesus was always about being obedient to his Father’s timing. He listened and he waited 2 days. And Lazarus died. And Jesus wept. And Jesus prayed and asked to have Lazarus back. And then God did what only he can do. He stepped in, took control of the situation and raised Lazarus from the dead. Why was Jesus meant to wait? To show that only God can conquer death. Have no doubt about it. God is always in control even when all appearances seem contrary.
It is possible to experience many deaths in our lifetime. Not just the death of a loved one or our own death. Some may experience the death of a marriage, or the death of a job they have had for years or a pet they loved or a business they once owned. Death is never easy no matter what shape it takes. But with the teachings of Jesus we have the hope there is always life after death.
And Jesus got angry; violently angry for the right reasons. He didn’t kill anyone. But I am sure he screamed at them when he saw what they were doing outside the temple. He was that angry. He didn’t physically hurt anyone but he overturned the tables of the money changers outside a house of worship because they turned his Father’s house of prayer into an establishment for financial gain. A religious establishment where people should have been able to go freely and worship freely was charging for temple services. He never went into people’s homes or eating establishments or gatherings spouting condemnations. But he would never have watered down the truth of his message of salvation either. Nor did he stand barking condemnations behind a picket line to where mourners were burying their dead. He ate with them. And joked with them. And got to know them for who they were. And healed them. He loved them. And he was much harder on the religious establishments of his day then he would have ever been on those who had lost their way.
And I repeat. Jesus didn’t always do the right thing in the eyes of everyone, he did the will of his Father. That was his only desire. And he is still working his Father’s will in each of us today.
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I walked into the living room one Sunday evening just in time for 91-year-old Andy Rooney’s evening commentary. What caught my attention this particular evening was Andy’s comments about how reading the newspaper every morning was one of the high points of his day and he was worried. Worried because some newspapers have gone out of business and more newspapers are going to go out of business. And in his Andy Rooney way, he conjectured he didn’t think saying so was going to make them go any faster.
His words struck a chord with me. I am probably a little over half his age. I have enjoyed embracing the existence of computers knowing full well life will no longer be as it once was without them; which is not necessarily a bad thing. But, like Andy, one of the high points of my day is reading the newspaper between 6:30pm and 7:00pm every evening, and on Saturday and Sunday mornings. I don’t have it delivered. I don’t think I am hurting the newspaper companies by not having it delivered (that sounded like an Andy Rooney comment). My basis for this is, I have discovered, if I don’t get to the store before the end of the day, all the newspapers are gone. Somebody is reading the newspaper. And in my own way, I am showing great dedication and determination in my deliberately seeking out this publication.
It has become rather a ritual for me to stop and pick up the Des Moines Register at the nearest convenience store. On Saturday, it gets me out of the house for a walk first thing in the morning. On Sunday, during the morning, it is husband and wife time as the massive newspaper gets divided according to our interests and then, with complete Sunday morning abandon, it is read almost cover to cover making its way lazily to the floor but not before the words of the Jumble have been worked, dissected and playfully bantered about. “Is that really an ordinary word? I don’t think so.”
As convenient as the news is on the internet, nothing will replace my newspaper as long as there is a local newspaper in print. I can’t even pinpoint what it is about sitting down and reading the newspaper that is so alluring and satisfying. I just look forward to doing it. It is one of the high points of my day. Could it be that favorite easy chair joined with the after work snack. Or maybe it’s just the “me” time when the house is quiet. The rushing and pushing of the day is behind me and my computer shut down. No clicking or scrolling, pop-ups or moving text; no commands. It is just the news on the pages in front of me and I am the boss.
As we know, much of the time the news isn’t very good. But there are always local topics of interest; conversation starters like the one I started with a woman while I was in the store shucking Deardorff sweet corn. “Did you read the article about the Deardorff sweet corn in the paper this morning.” She had. You gotta love that Iowa sweet corn.
Me and Andy Rooney. Hopefully, we are not a part of a dying breed; the last of the local newspaper readers. I know what it is!!.~ Sitting and reading the local newspaper takes time. It is a reminder of a much slower existence; a more patient world and a more patient me. What do you think Andy?
Word Press has intuitively provided the perfect header for my WATCHING FOR GOD blog. It takes my breath away. I mainly wanted to start this blog to be able to share my random thoughts. Why is this blog called “WATCHING FOR GOD”? Here is the story.
A few blocks from where I work is a park. It isn’t a fancy park with beautiful trees or ponds. Actually, a good portion of this park it is a parking lot. But it is a place I can go to at lunch time for a bit of solitude. I am fortunate that I work with great people. But, when it comes to my lunch time, it is my time to regenerate and be away from associating with work, discussions of work and, although I have seldom been engaged in gossip at this work place, there is always that potential element that exists.
On this particular day, I was enjoying my solitude and, as I had frequently done before, decided to take a short walk. Upon returning from my walk, I glanced down at my feet and there next to the tire of my car was a dirty strip of green latex or rubber about 2 1/2″ long and 1/4″ wide with the words “watch for God”. Since I am always aware of God in my life, this message became just another confirmation of His presence.
God and I have been familiar as far back as I can remember. As far back as the songs I use to sing with him in mind such as “HE” and “I Believe”. But I only gave him ownership in 1986.
So you see, it is only appropriate that this blog be entitled Watching for God. Because everything I do, I do with Him in mind. Every day I have the privilege of viewing his creation and every thought I have reminds me that I am fearfully and wonderfully made.
I am, because He is and He allows me to be who I am. He can open doors and He can close them. Oh! and so much more. I am excited to see what direction this blog will take. Make no mistake. It will be me writing it. Sharing my random thoughts. I imagine it will contain my successes and failures; my joys, my fears and apprehensions. I hope to share His wonders in my life as well as some of life’s ugliness. All the while Watching for God.
“Am I only a God near by,” declares the Lord, “and not a God far away”, declares the Lord……. “Do I not fill heaven and earth.” declares the Lord” Samuel 23:23-24