Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Friday, December 21, 2007

Unga to Inga

Currently Mike is doing a series on the Kingdom of God at Ashraya. Then I am also exposed to writings such as Rob action plan.

These thoughts have me thinking, many times 'the kingdom of heaven' is used in the bible. Do I really understand what that means for me. As a first start I checked wikipedia. According to Jesus, the Kingdom of God is within (or among) people[3], it is approached through understanding,[4] and entered through acceptance like a child,[5] spiritual rebirth,[6] and doing the will of God.[7] It is a kingdom peopled by the righteous[8] and is not the only kingdom [9].

That very much sounds to me like something here now. Yet most of my education points to that really it is all about heaven... 'in my house there are many rooms' but in truth Jesus asked his disciples to go out and teach about the kingdom of heaven before he died... his death was the door to eternal life the door that I have chosen to go through when I die. And to prove it I will live in Jesus' kingdom of heaven now, while I live.

Sometime in the future the kingdom of heaven will be the only kingdom. But for now for me it is here... how do I live in this kingdom?

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Gifting

Right now in our office we are doing a secret santa between different people, a little gift every day. Right now I have an apple on my desk. Pushing all my pessimism out the window I say I am happy, I am glad I have an apple, a gift, apples taste good, and I will peal the skin off and eat it... later, right now I am looking at it and smiling that I got a gift.

Some of the people are trying to figure out who is giving to them, others asking why they do not get something each morning... I am happy to receive. I am happy to give, disappointed when I see my gift given to another, that tells me I do not know my charge very well. :(

For several years I and I know many others have been trying to figure out this whole holiday gift giving thing. Frustrated by giving to each and every person and getting back in return. The economy is hinged on this season and the need to give and be given to... even if there is no heart in the gift.***

How can we say I love and respect you so much I did not buy you anything. Yet I did buy something for everyone else around you? I just sent a box to the states it has a gift in it for everyone but my father. We went out of our way to buy a gift for a seven year old because her brother had something in the box. But I have not given to my dad.

What if that was the case for me.** I am such a pathetic person unable to receive a gift well, Nancy is thinking of getting me a carved elephant that I kinda want, unlike many other elephants this one has both the body and head hollowed out so the whole body is a lace of stone (all others i have seen have been the body only.) Last night Nancy flat out asked if I would be happy if I got it. The truth is no... i did not buy it then because the craftsmanship was not what I desired, for me to appreciate it I would need to go see many other carved elephants to know that the craftsmanship is on par. Then and only then would I really appreciate the gift.

So I am stuck in between a rock and a hard place. I have trouble giving good gifts, I have trouble getting gifts.

Now one thing I plan to do is give to our friends in the slum, thinking many articles of clothing and other stuff... but will that be good? It is to those that can not give back equally. But will I give the right stuff?

Someone needs to write a manual on how to give and how to receive. I can tell you it would be a best seller. It would be even better if it was a Christ based book. I know I would buy it.

***Actually there is some heart in just trying... that only works when received well
**That happened last year, we drew names and while I got every gift I was supposed to I was dumbfounded by not getting anything from my brother.
*There is even a movie I might see if I was in the states.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

The cost

I have had a cold this past week... coughing a lot esp when I lay down. When Nancy coughs like that I ask her to sleep in another room. I asked if she wanted me to she said no, but loving her I went out to the living room to sleep... after a couple of days I realized that sleeping on my stomach was the best for reducing the number of coughing fits. But the coughing fits still kept me up during the night. Giving me plenty of time to think, and mourn all the 'troubles' in my life. Being a pessimist I was having trouble remembering good stories I could tell my daughter about my past but i could remember lots of 'sins' I was not proud of. This made me more sad, then all these things that are so much frustration about being in another country. And the changes that are happening in my heart. So much 'cost' in my life, not much is easy right now like i 'used' to have.

This is when I went to lay next to Nancy who was reading her Bible: she read aloud "Blessed are the poor in spirit..." That sure did lift my mood. Nancy and I then had a conversation about good stories of my life... she prattled off eight one right after another. That further lifted my spirits.

A year ago I read Luke Chapter 14 about considering the cost of following Jesus. And I knew full well that following God to India would bring challenges upon me. And now here they were... not even big ones and i was almost ready to call it quits. But God quickly showed me the light.

I considered the cost, I chose, now I need to follow through with my choice, even when I have to travel through the 'muck' that makes up the path of this journey.