Thursday, September 20, 2012

You Don't Know Me, Pt. 4

In keeping with the theme of this series, I give you these verses to ponder today:

"Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments.  He who says, 'I know Him,' and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.  He who says he abides in Him ought himself also to walk just as He walked."

I John 2:3-6 

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

You Don't Know Me, Pt. 3

If you read yesterday's post, then you now know more ABOUT me.  But do you really know ME?  Or do you just know more information about me?

For those who have read my blog for any time at all, you know I'm going somewhere with this whole series.  It's not about me.  It's about truth.

Many, many people (millions is an estimate) know about God.  He is the Creator.  He is Almighty.  He is All-Knowing.  He is the Father of the universe.  He is loving.  He is righteous.  He is holy.  He is the provider of all mankind.  Okay.

But there are millions of people who say He is not the Creator, Almighty, All-Knowing, a father (or at least not a good one); that He is hateful, spiteful, judgmental, and could really care less about mankind.

There are people who think God is whoever you make Him.  But then, if that's true, He wouldn't really be God, would He?

So who's right?

I'm not going to tackle the issue of all the religions in the world, and how they view God.  Maybe another day (and definitely a much longer post!).  What I would like to address, though, is the notion that sitting in a church, or at some other type of religious gathering--even every Sunday--somehow makes a person an authority on who God is, His nature, and why He does what He does.  And what He would/should do in any given situation.

I just want you to stop and think about this:  If you have any type of relationship with any other person (spouse, child, sibling, parents, friend), and you spend one day a week with them--I mean really, really spending time with them--can you still say you are an authority on that person, their nature, and why they do what they do?  Or what they would/should do in any given situation?  I have been married for over 23 years.  I have known my husband since 1985. I'm pretty sure I know him better than any other person on this planet will ever know him.  But I could never say those things about him.  I know a lot about him, but there are still hidden mysteries to learn.  That's what makes marriage exciting!  Spending a lifetime getting to know each other!  That is what makes a good friendship exciting, too, isn't it?  Investing time and energy into another person's life, getting to know them better, and allowing them to get to know you?

And really, this is the point of the series of posts.  If we really and truly want to know God, we should spend our lifetime investing in that relationship.  Read your Bible?  Yes.  Go to church?  Yes.  Spend time in prayer?  Yes.  But oh, so much more.  Sometimes I get to know my husband best in the silences of life.  Just observing what he does, the way he does it, facial expressions, etc.  Sometimes, the best way to get closer to God is just to allow Him to speak in the silences.  Or to watch what He's doing, how He does it, and the effects of His actions.

There is more to this series.  For now, I encourage you to meditate on this verse:

"Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments."

Deuteronomy 7:9

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

You Don't Know Me, Pt. 2

So here's the deal:  I know there are people who really don't know "me".  I mean the intents of my heart and words and actions and everything.  I'm not sure my poor husband even does!  :o)  I try my best to convey these things to those around me, so as not to be misunderstood.  I want to show the love of Christ to everyone--even those who don't want it or want to return the same to me.

Here's a list of things some people really don't know about me:

- I am very sensitive.  My feelings are hurt easily.  My mom has said she rarely raised her voice with me, because simply speaking to me would do the trick.  I love deeply, but it doesn't take much to wound me, either.  The wrong word, the wrong level of voice, or the wrong facial expression.  I take it all so personally.

- I try to give people the benefit of the doubt.  To a fault.  "They didn't really mean it that way.  Even though it hurt my feelings, I don't think they were trying to do that at all."  Which means I often allow myself to be a rug.

- I love my faith.  I have been questioned many times about the reasons we became Catholic.  All I can say is, the more I grow in my faith, the more I love it.  There is such a depth to the history, the mysteries, and the Sacraments.  I will never be able to mine out all the treasures, but I sure love trying!

- I do not hate Protestants.  This should go without saying.  But there are some people who don't believe that.  Hello!  Most of my family is Protestant.  Do you think I started hating them the second I became Catholic?  Seriously?  I have the most wonderful family and in-laws.  They are amazing people!  (They love me, after all!  :o)  )

- I love animals.  Well, maybe not the icky ones like snakes.  But it's not a hate issue here.  Just an avoidance issue!  I love all things "nature":  flowers, plants, bugs, stars, clouds, etc.  I'm not saying I'll hold all those things.  Just that they fill me with wonder.

- I love small children.  They are blessings from God, and so full of joy and innocence.  I love making them smile and seeing the beauty of their excitement.  We can learn so much from kids.

- I didn't "wait" to have kids out of some selfish desire to have a career.  We had given up hope of every having children--and then God surprised us twice with great miracles.  God gifted us with two boys, for which I am so very, very thankful.  I have to say, though, I don't like the question that emphasizes the word "only."  (As in, "So, you only have two boys?")  No, I HAVE two boys...and would have taken more, if that had been God's plan!

- I am a natural tom-boy.  As a kid, I climbed trees, tried my best to build a tree house, climbed over and on top of every building possible on our family's farm, and...loved, loved, loved riding my dirt bike.  Yep.  Even in the winter.

- I am a girly girl on the inside.  Sometimes it comes out...

- I am scared to death of storms!  I try to be brave, but I hate dark clouds, lightning, and wind.  Don't even think about tornadoes without shuddering.

- I don't hate gays, lesbians, adulterers, or pyro-maniacs.  Really.  I'm throwing this in due to the misconceptions of some on social media.  I don't agree with the lifestyle, but I sure don't hate anyone.  I don't agree with taking illicit drugs, either, but I don't hate people who do.  And for a little extra info.:  We used to live in Detroit.  I was around people of every imaginable lifestyle, including transvestites.  Trust me, I have seen a lot in the past 25 years or so.  When I was in college, I could be found on Commercial Street every Friday night, ministering to the homeless, transient, alcoholics, and drug addicts.  I hurt for those people, and wanted to bring them hope.  My husband was also on staff at Detroit Teen Challenge.  We ministered to people who were trying to break free from drugs, alcohol, and many other addictions (including sex, etc.).  It was hard, but it was worth it.

So now you know a bit more about me.  And there is so much more.  That's just the tip of the iceberg, so to speak.

And it takes me back to the question:  If you really know so little about me, what about God?  As much as we all think we know about Him, how much do we really, really know?  I have to say, the more I know Him, the more I am amazed at how much I don't know Him!

More on this subject in my next post...

"I am Your servant; give me understanding, that I may know Your testimonies."

Psalm 119:125


Saturday, September 15, 2012

You Don't Know Me

One of my sons had to read a book by this title for English class.  From what I could gather, it was about a young man who lived one way, but inside his mind, he was a different person:  handsome, bold, popular, said what he really thought, etc.  That was the "real" him.  The one people didn't take the time to get to know.  I think a lot of teens feel that way.  They have to act a certain way to get along in the world, but there is another person inside who is completely other than what the world sees.

And isn't that true for most of us?  I know a few truly genuine people.  They are who they are, and make no excuses for who they are.  They don't need to.  They are "real". 

Lately, it has really become noticeable that people I have known for many years don't really know me.  This is especially true of people I have reconnected with via social media.  They knew me as a child.  Or they knew me as a teen.  Or they knew me in college.  Or they knew me at some point in the past.  Or, they know me NOW.  At least they think they do.  By the comments they leave, or the private messages they send, they express their opinion of me as if they know me intimately.  They know what I think and feel, obviously, because they are quite adept at telling me why what I think and feel is right or wrong.  (Usually wrong!)  And to be fair, I am pretty sure I do the same thing.  Although I don't often express conflicting opinions.  I just stare at my screen and think, "Really?  You feel that way?  Really?!" 

The unfortunate thing about social media is that it is really impersonal.  Oh, the funny little cartoons and the silly comments about life are all safe enough.  When people begin expressing political, religious, or moral views, though, the gloves come off.  And, granted, these are emotional issues for the majority of us.  But if you can't hear a person's tone of voice, see their facial expression, or really KNOW their heart, well, you don't really know what they're saying.

Things like Facebook have tricked us into thinking we know each other.  We don't.  We know what someone posted or commented.  But we don't KNOW them this way.  We simply read words.  We know something about the person, for sure.  But we don't know THEM as a person.

I want to delve further into this idea.  But for tonight, this is what I want you to take away from this:  Do you have a "Facebook relationship" with God?  Have you read His words, but not taken the time to really know His heart???

Until the next time...

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

September 11

The heroes of 9-11.
Firefighters, EMT's, policemen, and Fr. Mychal Judge

May we never forget...