Lord GOD–you’ve maybe not bound us together, but you have strung us together. You’ve really left the binding part up to us. I too must be reminded by You GOD, that I am nothing without Jesus.
Jesus + nothing = Everything!
The Message (MSG)
44“God’s kingdom is like a treasure hidden in a field for years and then accidentally found by a trespasser. The finder is ecstatic—what a find!—and proceeds to sell everything he owns to raise money and buy that field.
45-46“Or, God’s kingdom is like a jewel merchant on the hunt for excellent pearls. Finding one that is flawless, he immediately sells everything and buys it.”
How transparent am I? Read and learn. Though I might not get into all the personal details of what makes me tick, or all that is falling away, or falling apart in my life, or how tired I am from going into eight years without having a vacation, and how my fifty-three year old body is aching, weary, and yes, even getting worn, what I do share is what hits at the heart of the matter on my platter of life. It’s your platter too because we are all strung together one way or another.
What better way to start and end your day but that in the park—the GOD-park that is!
On a typical morning, as I walk in the GOD-park: GOD brings me to His Word and He often as He does as well, He puts a song on my mind, and instills His Word and the words from the song in my heart. Why? Because He’s constantly reminding me that My Redeemer Lives, and though darkness falls upon our days, He lives, He comforts and He is forever and always there.
So here goes another day of sharing just where sometimes my little bit of discontent comes from. It factors in a bit of above, but also in losing out on some fine moments with people I know I could get a long with, but they just either choose not to, or don’t want to, or they move away, or die off. Or, people often don’t like getting to the string of things in life, for discussing how to get past what is making our being strung together, not happen. It doesn’t matter how hard we try to disconnect, once we’ve met the connection on the string has been made. If we’ve learned nothing else from 9-11, we need to wake up and see how even people we’ve never personally met, are connected and gathered together on our Life-string of Pearls.
Got People Pearls?
It would have been so super easy, life I mean, if Mr. Rogers had been right in teaching us that it’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood. I’m not knocking the song, I ♥ this song. In fact I should hum this song throughout the day just in case I run into my very own prickly-pear self. Let’s try it, it’s the not the part about the beautiful day Mr. Rogers was trying to convey, it’s the part where we ask someone to be our neighbor and we decide to walk-along life’s very up and down hill road together.
Won’t You Be My Neighbor by Fred M. Rogers:
It’s a beautiful day in this neighborhood,
A beautiful day for a neighbor.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…
It’s a neighborly day in this beauty wood,
A neighborly day for a beauty.
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?…
I’ve always wanted to have a neighbor just like you.
I’ve always wanted to live in a neighborhood with you.
So, let’s make the most of this beautiful day.
Since we’re together we might as well say:
Would you be mine?
Could you be mine?
Won’t you be my neighbor?
Won’t you please,
Won’t you please?
Please won’t you be my neighbor?
Believe it or not, if we string ourselves together we can make GOD proud. This includes binding out evil, even the evil that sometimes lurks right within ourselves.
Growing up believing, or wanting to believe that, or telling people it is, doesn’t always make it so. You try to tell all those people who just found out that they have lost their job, home, life, etc. “It’s a beautiful day in the neighborhood.” What we should be listening and hearing is the part about Won’t you be my neighbor.”
The Message (MSG)
25Just then a religion scholar stood up with a question to test Jesus. “Teacher, what do I need to do to get eternal life?” 26He answered, “What’s written in God’s Law? How do you interpret it?”
27He said, “That you love the Lord your God with all your passion and prayer and muscle and intelligence—and that you love your neighbor as well as you do yourself.”
28“Good answer!” said Jesus. “Do it and you’ll live.”
29Looking for a loophole, he asked, “And just how would you define ‘neighbor’?”
30-32Jesus answered by telling a story. “There was once a man traveling from Jerusalem to Jericho. On the way he was attacked by robbers. They took his clothes, beat him up, and went off leaving him half-dead. Luckily, a priest was on his way down the same road, but when he saw him he angled across to the other side. Then a Levite religious man showed up; he also avoided the injured man.
33-35“A Samaritan traveling the road came on him. When he saw the man’s condition, his heart went out to him. He gave him first aid, disinfecting and bandaging his wounds. Then he lifted him onto his donkey, led him to an inn, and made him comfortable. In the morning he took out two silver coins and gave them to the innkeeper, saying, ‘Take good care of him. If it costs any more, put it on my bill—I’ll pay you on my way back.’
36“What do you think? Which of the three became a neighbor to the man attacked by robbers?”
37“The one who treated him kindly,” the religion scholar responded.
Jesus said, “Go and do the same.”
Sometimes, in the neighboring hoods of life, the neighborhood just gets a bit ugly. Wouldn’t you agree? I mean I’m a pretty overcoming sadness, happy, joyful person. I’m also a realist at the ♥heart♥ of life. I’m not little miss negative, and I’ll share some hard truths, and some people won’t like what I share, but mostly because they want the “tickle the ear stuff only.” I’m going to say it like this. I love Max Lucado, but you can’t just live on that. God’s got a balance thing going on in His Word and it’s His scales of justice, of Love and Justice. I don’t want you to confuse the statement above that I’ve said with me being negative, or that I don’t ♥ Max Lucado and his writing. I ♥ it, okay! We clear on that? Yet you and I need and have been designed for a balanced diet. You can’t take the good and leave the weighty worthy good for you stuff behind in the Word. You just can’t! Who says? GOD, that’s who. I’m just saying we need to own up to the fact that the white picket fences of life will get a little ugly painted upon them sometimes. It’s up to us to head out and clean up the fence, maybe even knock it down and rebuild and ” paint some pretty on it” as my niece says.
This morning though, as I was reading about the “misses” in the heart of a mom, who sorely misses her little boy who died from cancer, I’m sorely myself reminded of the day to day frailty of life. As I listen to a dad who will go forward in life, living for his family, doing what is best, even though it’s tough, I’m reminding of the choices we make outside the box called ourselves. As we come off of a ten year reminder of 9-11, and my only prayer is Dear GOD, what have we learned, really? Where is the change in man-kind?
The change can only come on an individual basis. You can hang in there with the group, the people who support you, but if GOD-Father, SON, SPIRIT, is not your anchor, then all the support holding you, will fade away and you too, precious pearl in GOD’s Eyes, will break away permanently from His stringed pearled plans for your life. Yes, it can be permanent and final. My prayer is that by some small silly writing that I do, it’ll be a neighborly wake-up call out to you. A back door friend come to visit and remind you that there is so much more to be had, to be held, when you and I stop bickering over all the rubble. When I listened, really listened to those firefighters talk, they were talking about the very “dust to dust” stuff. Us!!! That’s it people, the “us”, is what’s important to GOD. It’s not you being first, or last, or maybe not picked out by some neighborly person at all. Maybe you are the one who sits alone on the hill in the neighborhood of life and you think there is nobody who is going to love you and it’s all GOD‘s fault. It’s not, trust me, it’s just that we’ve not really got it all figured out ourselves yet, but those of us who love GOD, Father, Son, and Spirit, and have received Him, we know this, but we’re still working it all out of ourselves as well. We get a bit of a knot in the string of Pearls and we need to go into the Master Jeweler to get the kinks out so that we can look a little more like His Son, Jesus to you and others.
Each of us has been given people pearls in our life. Each pearl, when it comes into our life is representative of something. Each pearl a purposed, planned out by GOD-incidental moments, is for a reason. We are playing a role in the purposes of GOD. It’s not a walk on roll in a movie, it’s not a TV sitcom, or a dress rehearsal, it’s the real deal GOD-of a LIFE and TIME roll. We are not pawns, we are People Pearls to Him. The most precious of Pearls of His design.
Moments come into our life, moments when a People Pearl slips off the string of our life. Loss is a part of People Pearl living. I’m well acquainted and quite verses with loss myself. Often I think to myself that I just can’t handle one more thing to be gone out of my life, not even the slightest little bit of a person. Even someone annoying me, because deep, deep down I want it all to work. It’s not that I want everyone to like me, that’s just crazy talk, what it is, is my hope from Him, to have as many as possible, of those moments of, as much as it is possible, with me, to be at peace with all men.
The Message (MSG)
17-19Don’t hit back; discover beauty in everyone. If you’ve got it in you, get along with everybody. Don’t insist on getting even; that’s not for you to do. “I’ll do the judging,” says God. “I’ll take care of it.”
The Message (MSG)
14-17Work at getting along with each other and with God. Otherwise you’ll never get so much as a glimpse of God. Make sure no one gets left out of God’s generosity. Keep a sharp eye out for weeds of bitter discontent. A thistle or two gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time. Watch out for the Esau syndrome: trading away God’s lifelong gift in order to satisfy a short-term appetite. You well know how Esau later regretted that impulsive act and wanted God’s blessing—but by then it was too late, tears or no tears.
It might be a death, and by death I mean a moment that for a Bible believing CHRISTian, you and I don’t like. It’s the death of one that never asked I know that the string of beautiful people pearls that broke down here, is being restrung in the Hands of GOD.
Peace on the Pearl Strand
What have we learned? I’m glad I ended my 9-11 day watching a special on television about a group of firemen who were first on the scene of the twin towers. It was an amazing story filled with Pearl People. They don’t know me now, but I now have a glimpse of them. Pretty Pearl People who sacrificed, and did not experience even one loss of Pearl Person from their firehouse on that day. However, as time went on, Pearls did fall off the strand and the loss was, well, loss. You see something to be learned from 9-11 is it’s not how we loss our People Pearls, but that we lose them. How sad it is to GOD that often we are willing to forfeit them for selfish gain. This firehouse, they truly were so connected, so beautifully connected. I thought, no I’m thinking now! Earlier in the day, before leaving for work, negativity was flaring it’s ugly tainted head. People were posting how this person, or this group, or that group weren’t allowed first, or this day, or that day. I don’t know about you, but that all began to sound like a children’s song: ♪♫ “Did you ever see a Lassie go this way, and that way, and this way, and that, way? Did you ever see a Lassie, go this way and that?” ♪♫ It sounded more like nothing was learned and we were going to continue on sounding like little children on a playground fighting over what? I did also listen to a young fireman say this: “I knew of evil, but I didn’t know what evil looked like until today.” Wow? How about us, will we stand firm in the face of evil?
What’s Love got to do with it?
GOD, these verses in Corinthians show us, this is what Your Love on earth looks like! This is what Jesus looked like on earth to so many who met Him face to face, and when you designed us, this was what we looked like too! Oh Father GOD the ugly sin paint fell upon each of us, and it’s name, the color it would read on the label in the store, would be “death ugly”. Let each of us be able to not brush off the prickly Pearl People but to show, however it is possible with each us, love. Maybe we won’t be able to overcome them with this love, but we can bind together on the strand of Your Love and show each other love. This includes me, who often can get taken off guard and get a bit of that distasteful tainted sin color on myself. Lord, we, no matter how much many deny You, we cannot do it by ourselves and we need some binding together, from on high, so that we can bind together and be Your continued Pearl People sharing:
1 Corinthians 13
The Way of Love
1 If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate. 2If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing. 3-7If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end. 8-10Love never dies. Inspired speech will be over some day; praying in tongues will end; understanding will reach its limit. We know only a portion of the truth, and what we say about God is always incomplete. But when the Complete arrives, our incompletes will be canceled.
11When I was an infant at my mother’s breast, I gurgled and cooed like any infant. When I grew up, I left those infant ways for good.
12We don’t yet see things clearly. We’re squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But it won’t be long before the weather clears and the sun shines bright! We’ll see it all then, see it all as clearly as God sees us, knowing him directly just as he knows us!
13But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: Trust steadily in God, hope unswervingly, love extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.
GOD and Mr. Rogers
God was right, and so was Mr. Rogers. We all need love, and we all can make the neighborhood of living a beautiful place. Sin is going to be here on earth forever and always. The only place sin can’t be is in Heaven. I’m headed There are you? I hope so. Because living here, and having that Hope of Heaven is what keeps my People Pearl string held together. I know that there are Pearl People in my life that left not knowing Jesus. You might not believe that to be a big deal, or say that I can’t know that. But Truth is truth! If someone dies saying they don’t believe and don’t want to believe, there are no second chance moments. This is whole reason GOD wanted us to be in Heavenly Pearl People making business in the first place.
Thank you GOD–thank you Mr. Rogers, for reminding us that no matter what comes, or who leaves, we can enjoy a beautiful day in the neighborhood of life, when life is more about the Pearl People we come to know, and pray for, and care about deeply, then that of ourselves.
String of Pearls
by Grant Cunningham and Michele Wagner
from Michele’s CD “Heart of the Journey”
Michele has these two verses before the song:
The Message (MSG)
A Love That Will Grow
The Message (MSG)
3-5There’s more to come: We continue to shout our praise even when we’re hemmed in with troubles, because we know how troubles can develop passionate patience in us, and how that patience in turn forges the tempered steel of virtue, keeping us alert for whatever God will do next. In alert expectancy such as this, we’re never left feeling shortchanged. Quite the contrary—we can’t round up enough containers to hold everything God generously pours into our lives through the Holy Spirit!
String of Peals: ♪♫ “Life is a string of pearls, held together by a thread of hope. I place these grains of sand in His faithful Hands, life is a string of pearls. See me, I’m the perfect example of life in it’s imperfect ways. Only one of the many whose heart has felt the touch of grace. I’ve seen moments of pain stolen by His Healing, and all that remains is joy. Looking over my shoulder I see the good He’s made of things. Took me turning them over to find what trusting truly means. I’ve had memories of pain broken by His Healing and all that remains is peace. Life would try to leave us bitter, welling up inside us, suffering in silence, Your love has changed us for the better. I’m thankful for His touch, I’m grateful… Life is a string of pearls, held together by a thread of hope.” ♪♫
So now I ask you, will you let go of this Love?
Are you going to hold onto this Love?
Until all have heard of His love, in Jesus’ name alone I come,