There is Sunshine in the world today!

Yes, sunshine. Days and days and days of rain and clouds and now we have sunshine!!!! What a beautiful sight. What a beautiful world. I feel warm already and it’s still 34 degrees outside.

I read an old entry this morning on our pastor’s blog about grownups who can’t make friends. There were logical reasons for this and I agree with them. I also took a moment to reflect on my own ‘friend’ issues; something I have done through the years at various points in my life. I know that there are other issues which add to my reluctance to make friends, or at least to make that one friend with whom I can bare my heart and soul. I believe this is true of others as well.

I believe we, or at least most of us, have at our very core a belief that the people in our world, our inner circle, are good, honest, trustworthy, dependable, reliable people. So, in the beginning we choose that one person with whom we feel comfortable, that person with whom it is just natural to open up and talk and we spill our guts as it were.

Time passes and we discover that our secrets have either been spread around the community or used against us in an argument. So we put up a shell. Over time we let the shell begin to crack and eventually we open up to yet another person in our life only to find ourselves in the painful situation of realizing that friend has hurt us too. Oh, maybe that friend didn’t share our secrets, or use them as a knife to stab into our very heart…maybe that friend just drifted out of our life and acted as though there had never been anything special between us. For those who have esteem issues to begin with, this brings up the whole flurry of what did I do wrong, what are they saying about me, why can’t I keep a friend? In reality, it isn’t always all about us. Sometimes it is all about the other person.

But what if we were the one who hurt the other person? Where do we go from there? Is it conceivable that 2 people can have a friendship/relationship and never, ever hurt each other? I contend that this is not possible IF the friendship/relationship is a real and true one. I say we are all human and we will all say or do or not or not do something that is either downright intentionally hurtful or worse yet, perceived as hurtful when that was never the intent. This happens in marriages; of course it will happen in friendships.

One of my basic flaws in the past has been to have high, unrealistically high expectations of the people with whom I was close. Of course I was hurt. Of course I was disappointed. Of course I spent days doubting my own self and my ‘ability’ to make and more importantly keep a friend. Once I began to realize that an expectation is a recipe for disappointment and resentments I began to let go to those expectations.

Sure, I expect a friend to ‘keep’ a secret, should I tell them one. But at this point in my life I simply don’t have many secrets. I also try to not say a thing to anyone about another person that I couldn’t or wouldn’t say to that person’s face. Of course I don’t always manage that. I am human. I very often open mouth insert foot and even though my intentions are honorable and I don’t mean to put another person in a bad light, quite often my words are perceived that way, but perception is a whole ‘nother topic!!! 😀

But what if, just what IF I (or you) am totally incapable of making or at least keeping a friend? Could there be a reason for this? Could there be some genetic malfunction that causes this? I am aware that some conditions such as Asperger’s Syndrome can manifest itself in character traits which make it next to impossible for the person to make and/or keep a friendship. Psychological type issues can also interfere with one’s ability to make or keep friends…but back to the paragraph which says that we have found our confidences used against us or spread around the community, go back to that shell that people tend to construct when these things happen, these emotional hurts strike. One can build up such a shell around the ‘heart’ that it is virtually impossible to crack-one that in spite of growth, experience, spiritual maturity, whatever—that shell will constantly be there.

That shell with constantly be there, skewing a person’s perception, causing that person to make choices that are detrimental to the friendship, twisting innocent actions and/or statements into hurtful barbs that pierce to the core.
Friendships can hurt. Maybe that is why so many choose to have what I call surface friendships rather than core friendships. I need to just keep praying and working on this.

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rain and more rain in more ways that rain

8 inches of rain, so I am told has fallen here in the past few days and more to come. thank you, Lord that we are not experiencing ice, as the northern part of the state is experiencing. Still, it’s a dreary day, both outside my window and inside my heart.
I have opened mouth and inserted foot, the foot was repeated to my friend, the person the foot referred to…not in an ugly manner, in a truthful, matter of fact manner…but my friend was hurt. Either by my words and what words were repeated as mine. I don’t know precisely what was shared and attributed to me.

I always ask friends to come to me when they hear anything that is questionable…whether from me or from someone saying I said something. It is the Biblical way of handling a problem, it is the fair and right thing to do, it is the only way to honestly work through a relationship problem. This hasn’t happened.

I was told it was ok when reference was made to the issue in a text message. I was busy and couldn’t pursue the subject. Friend was busy all weekend with a situation of her own and it was 2 days later before I realized she had been hurt.

I have apologized, honestly, sincerely. I have shared what I said to the best of my recollection. I have shared my thinking behind the sharing. I have made every attempt to be honest and to not fall into justification, only explanation. I was wrong to say a word concerning the situation. I cannot take the words back. I can only apologize, ask God to help me never, ever to refer to my friend at all to anyone and move forward and pray that she will forgive and reconcile.

But, part of that isn’t reasonable. One cannot co-exist in the world and especially be friends with a person and never refer to them. I honestly thought I was simply sharing facts. Oh well, I must let it go, let God handle it and stop obsessing over it. May God use this to change me, to mold me, to teach me.

Sunday

Today begins our January Bible Study. It is from Luke 19-24 and is on the Passion of Christ. Bro. Bill Miller is teaching this again this year; a wonderful speaker and very knowledgable and has a way of making application. This morning was our introduction. We will have another 2 hour study time tonight and again Mon-Wed.

This section of Luke begins surrounding our study begins with the Triumphal Entry of Jesus and ends with His ascension. A few verses that speak out to us from this study will be from 19:24-40…where Jesus approached the city of Jerusalem (meaning city of peace) and wept because it was such a disrupted city and he was standing before the people, their deliverer, their saviour, their hope, yet they were blinded and didn’t see.
24:13 and following tells the story of how Jesus came upon the 2 men walking on the Emmaeus Road and Jesus comes us besides them and walks and talks with them, telling them of himself..yet scripture tells us their eyes prevented them from recognizing. Later on after telling them all about himself, their eyes opened…are our opened or are they blinded by the world around us and our own personal sins?
Are our minds opened to understand scripture or do we journey through life with blinders on, with limited vision. Do we know Him? Jesus was told to stop telling the people about himself, but He said that even if He did, the rocks would cry out of Him.

One of the things unique to Luke and not the other 3 gospels is an internal introduction. The book is written by Luke to reveal Jesus. The theme is the Son of Man…came to save mankind. Luke is an indepth study of the Passion of Christ.

In V. 28 of Chapter19 Jesus arrives..and as we read on in V.29 Jesus sends his disciples to Bethany, the home of Mary and Martha, and tells them to bring him the cold, if asked the purpose it’s because the Lord needs it. Has to be a cold never ridden, as that makes it appropriate for sacred purposes. As we read on, the willingness with which it is given up indicates foreknowledge of Jesus by the owner.

V.36 we read that the people spread their clothes in front of Jesus, this is traditional when kings are presented and signifies a royal procession.
Remember, that Jesus has taught in the area for 3 years, performed miracles and there are tens of thousands of people in Jerusalem during Passover. Here is a ‘royal figure, entering a royal city to establish peace…they think earthly peace but it is heavenly peace.

V. 39 He is told to rebuke his disciples as they proclaim Him and Jesus tells the crowd that if the disciples become silent, the rocks would cry out . This is a figurative crying out, providing evident of wrongs done. Abel’s blood cried out after Cain slew him, in James the money cries out on behalf of the accused.

V. 41 As Jesus enters the city, he weeks, not just crying, not just shedding a tear, but broken hearted sobbing over Jerusalem’s sin condition, the condition of people of Israel, they are in such rebellion.

V.42 Is spoken to Jerusalem, the city of peace, and in essence is they are blinded to what brings real peace.
. 43 the destruction of Jerusalem in AD 70, the enemy is coming and will hem them in on all sides. The peace (spiritually) that Jesus brings will end the worldly peace they knew. We are called to be totally committed buy many want just access to Him.
In V. 44 the Greek word for time means the opportune time to act..today is the day of salvation. And as for the ‘visitation’ it is either wrath or mercy..here it is for the purpose of mercy.

V. 45 he drives out the sellers from the temple, the holiest of places on earth
V. 46 what should have been a house of prayer had failed, it had become the exact opposite…

Now from here in Chapter 19 we jump to chapter 21:29 and following for a fitting metaphor…the parable of the fig tree. A tree with leaves and not fruit is of no value just as the temple with no fruit is of no value. How many Christians, people who claimed to be Christians have no fruit, there fore no value.

Back to Chapter 19:47From the entry in Jerusalem through the visitation is believed by many to be a Sunday…the throwing out of the sellers happened on a Monday prior to Good Friday, and the teaching he did occurred on Tuesday and Wednesday.
V. 48..all the people were attentive, the scribes and pharisees coul d not find a reason to get of him which they desired to do and in
Chpter 20 they question His authority and as He preaches the good news they question Him concerning John the Baptist.
As often happens, Jesus answers a question with a question, but the religious leaders figure all this out and rather than trap themselves they claim to not know the answer. They were being religious politicians as they discussed best how to answer, what to say, what not to say.
In V. 9-16 we have the parable of vinegrowers. this is an example of God’s dealing with Israel. The religious leaders rejecting Jesus, spiritual leaders don’t to lose the power they have and judgment is passed against Israel and the gospel is given to Paul and the gentiles. The very Jesus they reject will be cornerstone of our faith. Jesus is to one healing and to another judgement.
The church needs to remember who the owner is..we don’t own the church. We are the church.
In v. 19 the religious leaders tried to shut him down because he taught against them.
V. 20, they watched him closely hoping to trap him and as they see they can’t…
V. 21 they butter him up
V. 22-23 they try to trick him but he sees it and again in
V. 24 answers a question with a question
V. 26..unable to trip him up, they were amazed. He robbed them of their rebuttal. The truth always seems to amaze people.