Sketch of My Blog

Our Journey in Life is more than we allow it to be.
We must all Be Ourselves to really enjoy what's all around us.
Take hold and learn from Life and Others.

I Follow the Way of Jesus.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Healing Our Image of God and Ourselves

This is from Chapter 1 of "The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus", by Brennan Manning.

"Religion is a matter not of learning how to think about God, but of actually encountering Him."
"Don't Put God in a Box"

To encounter God we must strip off all allusions of God that have been purported onto us.  We can't grasp the infinite that is God with our human finite minds.  God is the one and only God.  He is Love and so much more.  When we think about God we need to think outside our boxes.  Outside the box we try to put Him in.  We need to think big.  We need to know that our ideas aren't anything that God is, but He is so much more and bigger.

Look at the parable of the farmer and the workers.  It's in Matthew chapter 20.  Their is a crazy farmer hiring workers and it doesn't matter what time of day they start working for him, they all got the same wage.  All got a full days pay, it was "divine generosity".  Do we grumble when others get a break?  Why do we say "it's not fair" or someone "got a lucky break" when something good happens?

What about the parable of the prodigal son?  It's about a reckless, spendthrift who is a wasteful person.  Those are definitions of the word prodigal.  Yet the Father is also a prodigal.  Instead of treating the returning son the way we expect him to be treated, the father acts as a prodigal and is wasteful, reckless and a spendthrift in welcoming a disgraceful son back.  I think a more appropriate title would be "The Wayward Son and the Prodigal Father".

This is how our image of ourselves and of God need to change.  God is that farmer giving everyone the same pay and He is the father of the prodigal, welcoming home the wayward son.  We are that wayward child and we are the workers for the farmer.  We are getting what God wants us to have regardless of our lives or our actions as long as we come to God, He will take care of the rest.

Our images of God and ourselves change when we see Him as merciful, caring and more importantly loving.  Then we can we see ourselves as worth God's time and in need of His Salvation.  Try to look at things a little different.  You might surprise yourself.

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

A Living Sacrifice - 11-03-2013

A Living Sacrifice

Good Morning everyone, my name is Marc Araujo.  I’m here to talk with you about being a Living Sacrifice.  What do you think of when you hear the words sacrificing yourself?  It makes me think about, giving bits of myself to God.  Like my time, my skills, my abilities.  I have to admit that I struggle with giving all of myself and all that it entails.  I want to give God my all, but there are certain parts that I don’t want to give up.  Certain areas that are either personal to me or just sensitive or even embarrassing.

Imagine you have a house and it has rooms and it has closets and chairs and other bits of furniture.  Each room has a purpose and each piece of furniture has a reason.  Now one day, a glorious day, you ask Jesus into your house.  He comes in willingly and looks around, and walks around.  After a little bit you say let’s sit down for dinner.  You offer Him your food your drink and He enjoys a meal with you.  Now there are some things that need adjusting, like the book on the coffee table.  It’s not appropriate and Jesus asks you to get rid of it.  You think that’s fine and do so willingly.  Jesus is in your house and you are so excited that you do it without a second thought.  Each day something new needs to be removed or taken down.  A picture here, a line of words on a poster over there, slowly your house is getting “cleaned up”.  Voluntarily you are helping Jesus put your house in order as you surrender more of your house to Him.  These are minor changes, nothing major just little things that Jesus asks you to change.  Then one day Jesus starts working on the Basement rooms and the Upstairs rooms.  But maybe there are sections in your house you are hoping He will overlook.  I’m sure each one of us has something that we don’t want to give up, some areas of our life that we don’t want others to know about, let alone Jesus.  Guess what, Jesus already knows about all those parts of your life.  He wants to help you, not judge you.

See, you invited Him in.  You asked Him to change your house.  Jesus is willing, but when he gets to those rooms that are, in our terms, “off limits”, that’s a whole other story.  See this is where the sacrifice comes in.  Are you willing to give your entire life to Jesus?  Every room in your heart, even the ones you don’t want Him to enter?  That is what being a Follower of Jesus is all about.  It’s about giving your time, your skills, your family, your everything.  Not living with the world, but living in the world as Jesus wants us to Live.  Setting our sights on God’s standard of Living and Being, instead of our own.  Living for Jesus instead of ourselves.  Trust in God above all else and you will Live a Sacrificial Life.

Paul talked about living a sacrificial life in Romans Chapter 12 verses 1-3  1 I exhort you, therefore, brothers, in view of God's mercies, to offer yourselves as a sacrifice, living and set apart for God. This will please him; it is the logical "Temple worship" for you. 2 In other words, do not let yourselves be conformed to the standards of the 'olam hazeh (this present world). Instead, keep letting yourselves be transformed by the renewing of your minds; so that you will know what God wants and will agree that what he wants is good, satisfying and able to succeed. 3 For I am telling every single one of you, through the grace that has been given to me, not to have exaggerated ideas about your own importance. Instead, develop a sober estimate of yourself based on the standard which God has given to each of you, namely, trust.”  When you take the time to Live a Sacrificial Life you actually start to live for others instead of yourself.  This is what Jesus demands us to do.  Love the Lord your God with all your Heart, your Soul and your Mind.  And then Love your neighbor as yourself. 

When I was much younger I used to volunteer with my grandmother at Folt’s Home a retirement and assisted living facility in Herkimer.  She would help out with the Coffee Hour and so would I.  I would sneak cookies and I would help people on and off the elevators and get them from their rooms and even set them up so I could snag a glass of juice too.  After everyone was seated and ready, I would go and visit with those that didn’t want to come down or couldn’t for one reason or another.  I would sit with them and listen to the most interesting stories they had to share.  It was fascinating and enjoyable.  What I was doing was, loving my neighbor.  I already loved God, so now I was going a step further.

Another way of looking at it would be “Turning Your Chair Toward Another”.  Turning your chair toward someone is a term that’s used to suggest something people have a hard time doing these days.  Loving our neighbor or being a Living sacrifice.  So since we are talking about a retirement home, let’s keep with that theme.  Imagine if you will, a Retirement home in Florida.  This is actually a true story that I’m retelling.  At the home there is a deck going round half of the building.  On that deck are rocking chairs all facing out at a ninety degree angle from the building.  Now imagine if you will all these seniors sitting in the chairs and just facing out, rocking.  Not looking at their neighbor in the seat beside them or talking to them or anything.  Just sitting there and rocking.  No other movement.  Now I don’t know about you, but I would want to start dancing or jumping or doing something, you know to get their attention, be a little entertaining, anything to see more movement then just rocking.

Now imagine if you will that those chairs are now turned toward each other.  So that each chair is facing another chair, two by two you might say.  With that setup, each person would be facing another person.  They would actually have the opportunity to talk to each other.  Look into the eyes of the other person.  Be engaging and have a personal conversation.  They will be able to take the time to talk to each other, sacrificing a little bit of their day to make a difference in someone’s life.  That’s being a neighbor.  That’s being a Living Sacrifice.  That’s what we do when we Love God above all else.  We Live as God wants us to.  It’s not Rocket Science.  It’s God’s command.  It’s Basic.  It’s Simple.  How can you be a Living Sacrifice?  By Loving God so much that you allow Him to show you how to Love others.  Take the time to invest your Life in God and the dividends, the returns and the benefits will far exceed what you put in.  A Living Sacrifice is giving your all to God so He can direct you to give to others.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Pioneers Life

I started reading a book that I received for Christmas.  I think that the book was only fitting to receive at Christmas since it's about Jesus and that's the whole reason for the season.  It is called "The Relentless Tenderness of Jesus" by Brennan Manning.  I have only gotten to the third chapter so far.  Not that it's a long book or a difficult book, it's just full of a lot of information.  Each chapter is packed full of ideas that make me think that the life I'm leading isn't necessarily the one that God wants me to lead.

pioneer covered wagonFor instance, I shouldn't be leading my life, I should be letting God lead and I should follow.  Also that I should be more of the Pioneer type and not the Settler type.  Settlers live by the law and their works alone and keeping in line with all the town dictates.  Whereas Pioneers adventure out into the wilderness and the wild and forge new paths on the way to the Kingdom, the final stop.

I want to be that type of person.  The pioneer who lives in the covered wagon, follows the Jesus (the Scout), eats what the Holy Spirit (the Buffalo Hunter) provides to the the Clergyman (the Cook), all while keeping my Covered Wagon (the Church) with me where ever I go, while I follow God (the Trail Boss) to a future and a hope and a life worth leading, living and participating with my Family and for my Father God.  That is the life I want.  I don't want to settle for any thing and I don't want to settle on the rules and regulations, I want to live and just just survive.  That is the life that God wants for each of us and I want it too.

I'm going to try and post about my readings in this book and what I get from it.  My different feelings and also just in general what it means and hopefully how it can help any one who is interested.  This will be my Pioneer year into the future that God wants me to live.  I want to see what God wants of me.  How I can be a blessing to others and how I can learn more about loving God.  My life is not my own any more.  It belongs to God and I want to live it that way.  One step at a time.  One day at a time.  One hour at a time and sometimes each second that is available to me.

Dear Father in Heaven,
     I wish to know you more and the love you have for me.  I want to take each day and allow you to lead me through it.  Take and be your follower and not a fan.  Give you the permission and the rights to my life and allow you to show me what you want me to do.  To follow your guidance and direction and be a Pioneer on the trail that you lead and establish.


Let the Adventure Begin and let it Begin with me and Begin Here!