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Shoes and Character

brooks-pure

Some neighbour friends of ours walked by and for some reason we got talking about shoes. He told us that he had just gotten rid of a new pair of shoes because they had lost their colour when he had attempted to wash them.

He told us he had to go out and buy a new pair of shoes as a result, but the extra expense was worth it, because you can tell a lot about a man from the shoes he wears. Mistin and I, two of our kids, and another lady who had joined in the conversation all immediately started looking at our shoes wondering what character assessment our footwear might engender.

This dude wasn’t kidding. He went on to explain that shoes are the first thing he notices on people. He judges from the sole up! Having new fancy shoes was some sort character measurement system in this mans mind!

Our dear 7 year old Jemma, oblivious to this system of human value based on shoes, chimed into the conversation:

“I got new shoes too!” She did a little jig, and then looked adoringly at her 8 year old brother  Darve.

“Darve found them in the garbage room and brought them home for me, they are perfect!”

At first I tried to shush Jemma, I thought Oh no! Not that story, not now, not to this guy! but then I stopped. What could this man say? It was Jemma’s moment of pure delight and simple gratitude. She was entering into adult conversation with a happy tale to tell. My daughter cared nothing that these shoes were plucked from the garbage room in our apartment or what brand they were, or how much they might have cost. Darve had found them for her! It was love that had compelled him to bring them home and they fit her, and they were super comfortable, and there was plenty of tread left on the bottom, and to top it all off they were even the flashy light up kind!

The great speech on judging from the sole up, had fallen flat, It was felled by the simple joy of a seven year old who absolutely loved her “garbage” shoes! I hope the lesson will not be lost to us, especially us grown up types who so often lose our way. True character has nothing to do with shoes or any sort of status symbol. What matters more than footwear is the clothing of joy, gratitude and love that we wear and share with each other.

What’s the Point? 


Then I pray to you, O Lord.
I say, “You are my place of refuge.  You are all I really want in life. (Psalm 142:5)

What is the goal for the follower of Jesus? Are we looking for happiness, wealth, a home in heaven, eternal riches, a good reputation, a mansion, a good life now, what?

 David tells us we follow Jesus because we long to be with God. It’s fundamentally a relationship that we are seeking with the creator of the universe. All we want is to know that we love and are loved by God. From this relationship springs true life, true love, true joy. Oneness with the creator makes life as it should be. We long for God, to be tucked in safely beside him forever. God is not the means to a selfish end he is the end himself.

How a clear mission prevents bitterness & anger


“And I want you to know, my dear brothers and sisters, that everything that has happened to me here has helped to spread the Good News” (Phil 2:12)

The bad news is that I’m in prison, not a nice comfortable prison either and there are many people that would like to kill me and there are even other Christians who hurt me with their words and motivations.

But
, the good news is:

  1. The entire palace guard now knows about Jesus  
  2. The gospel is spreading like wildfire  
  3. Christians all over the place are becoming emboldened to share their faith because of my situation  

I won’t get angry at the opposition because it’s actually helping accomplish the mission

I won’t get angry at other Christians who have been less charitable to me, they too are preaching the good news.  

God I really want this attitude in my life.

Please give me the clear vision to see that difficulty presents a greater opportunity for you to work.

Please help me not to get bitter at other Christians who might say and do foolish things against me. In many respects in the west Christianity is on the ropes and we don’t have time to hold grudges against one another.

If other Christian groups are proclaiming good news even though in my estimation they stink in a lot of areas then I should praise the Lord for them and not complain about the stench.

Feeling the Groove

longboard_by_miccolo

He was totally dialled in. Oblivious to the world. His white man afro was dancing wildly in the wind. His size 12 shoe reached out in front of him and gobbled up yards of bike path with each stride.  I had never seen a skateboarder go so fast.  The sun was setting, and the sea wall was bathed in the warm soft rays of final light.  It was a beautiful night for a ride and he was taking full advantage of the relatively unpeopled path. I tucked in behind him on my road bike, within moments I was ready to pass, but I couldn’t get around him. He was now crouched low on his long board, leaning forward, hands outstretched, smiling from ear to ear. It looked as if his eyes were closed! In his enraptured state he was weaving all over the bike path and try as I might I couldn’t seem to get around him. Finally I got as close as I dared and hollered

“Dude!?”

His head jerked up, and he looked over at me with a sheepish grin, pulling out his earbuds he yelled

“Sorry dude, I was just feeling the groove!”

It’s good to feel the groove.  Every now and then for a fleeting moment or two all of us are like that skateboarder, everything feels like it should, everything perfect, it’s “the groove.” Are those moments just dumb luck? Fortunate happenstance? Meaningless endorphins just doing their thing?  Something great, then gone for ever?

What if these “groove” moments could be viewed not as experiences lost and memories ever dimming but rather as glimpses of a future that will be gained? What if we believed that the joys of today were mere tastes of an eternal banquet of joy to come? I think that’s the best way of looking it. Jesus has promised us great things and the great moments of our lives that pass so quickly should serve as joy and gratitude infusing reminders for us of what will be.