For His Glory!
Seeing Beyond the Surface to Bless One Another
(Rather than having our regular study this month we are presenting a guest article that is showing the application of what we should be learning from our studies.)
Recently, my children and I had the opportunity to meet an interesting man named Christian Lee. Mr. Lee is a classical guitarist, collector of fine art and philanthropist. He has traveled the world performing with some of the greatest musicians of our time. He could easily be financially set for life simply on the basis of his God-given musical talent. His art collection, by itself, is worth millions, many of the pieces coveted by other dedicated collectors.
With all of this talent and his beautiful acquisitions, Mr. Lee has chosen an unusual path. He is determined that his talents and art will be used only in service to others; for the benefit, education and blessing of those around him, especially children.
He accomplishes this goal by performing in private homes or at the invitation of specific organizations and ministries. For example, he has performed concerts as a centerpiece of fundraising efforts for crisis pregnancy centers, homes for abused women, schools in under privileged nations, etc.
In the presentation we were blessed to witness, Christian Lee played beautifully on the guitar but he soon set it aside. His focus that afternoon was to help us all look at art with fresh eyes. He taught us that things are not always as they appear. He taught that we can appreciate a piece of artwork without liking it. One of his pieces is a jester drawn by Pablo Picasso. If one looks at it briefly, it appears quite jumbled and confused. Mr. Lee showed us the point at which Picasso began the drawing and that it then proceeds in one constant stroke all the way to the other side of the face. He explained that it takes a certain level of genius to accomplish such a drawing at the speed at which Picasso worked. He explained that what appears as chaos to us, disorder, is actually cubism; the attempt to show something from more than one perspective at the same time. After he explained this, I could appreciate Picasso’s talent more fully although I still don’t enjoy looking at his work.
Mr. Lee proceeded to show us a spoon that had belonged to Nicholas II, the last czar of Russia. The spoon had been fashioned by the artist Peter Faberge using the cloisonné method. The framework for a design is laid out using heated wire or metal and then heated broken glass is set into the framework and baked. It created a sort of opaque stained glass look. The spoon presented to us by Mr. Lee is said to have required approximately 200 hours of Faberge’s time. Yet Czar Nicholas was in the habit of throwing such things away after one use. What we see today as a creative treasure, royalty saw as disposable. It was this attitude of indulgent waste that brought the czar violently down in 1917.
The lesson that most stood out to me is within the paintings "Jesus and Lazarus" and "Jesus in the Garden of Gethsemane" Once again, when a work is closely examined, one finds that everything is not as it seems from a distance. In the first painting, one sees Mary, Martha and the disciples gathered around as Jesus restores Lazarus’ life. Off to the side stand some Pharisees disgusted that Jesus has healed on the Sabbath. Upon very close examination, one sees that a certain Pharisee, one of the powerful but hypocritical teachers of the time, is actually portrayed with two faces. The ecstasy and disgust are all right there but most people never look close enough to notice.
In the latter painting, we see Jesus in the garden, seemingly alone, beseeching the Father one more time. Once again, all is not as it seems, for off in the darkness to the right of the Messiah, are the sleeping disciples. It is a poignant reminder of how the faithful can feel very alone even while other professing believers are close by, for those others are actually asleep.
Within the Body, we need each other. We should never feel alone. If we do, something is very wrong. Have we shut others out? Have we made choices that cause others to step away from us? Have we been the encouragers we should be to one another? When someone is in need or obviously in peril, are we willing to "cross the street" and go to their aid?
Mr. Lee uses the resources with which he has been blessed to teach others to appreciate what we have, be observant, and be willing to share with others. To acknowledge how we have been blessed and generously share as we are able for the benefit of our fellow man. He challenges people to not make excuses about this principle.
Two weeks after our first encounter with Mr. Lee, my oldest daughter and I were privileged to meet him again at another, lengthier, presentation. In that setting, he shared more of his personal testimony. He played a beautiful medley of classical pieces from around the globe and gave an account of each composer’s life. All had reason to feel inadequate and defeated in life. Mr. Lee shared that he himself has struggled many times with depression and could easily be tempted to focus on personal weakness rather than God given strength with which he can serve. He shared that his adopted son was abandoned in his native land because his body was so crippled and twisted. No one expected this baby to survive, let alone flourish. Christian’s wife, however, followed the leading she discerned and went to the boy’s rescue. Only now, all these years later, can people see all of the strengths and talents in this boy, now sixteen, that would have been missed because no one was looking beyond the surface.
As believers, what are we missing? How have we misunderstood or even refused to participate in opportunities to reflect Christ into the life of our fellow men? What excuses slip easily off our tongues and keep us from being anything other than the man with one talent.
Mr. Lee calls this focusing of our gifts, talents and strengths "crossing the street"; we’re going along in life, we see a need in someone or become aware of a necessary task for which no one has accepted responsibility, and we prayerfully "cross the street" and do something about it.
As we go forward in our believers’ journey, may we have fresh eyes, refocused by YHWH Himself, to see where we can go below the surface and really be about the work of the Father?
Proverbs 3:28 Do not say to your neighbor, "Go, and come back, And tomorrow I will give it," When you have it with you.
Proverbs 25:21 If your enemy is hungry, give him food to eat; And if he is thirsty, give him water to drink;
Proverbs 28:27 He who gives to the poor will never want, But he who shuts his eyes will have many curses.
"No one ever attains very eminent success by simply doing what is required of him. It is the amount and excellence of what is over and above the required that determines the greatness of ultimate distinction"
Charles Kendall Adams
In the scheme of things it is not what we do to just get by; but what we can do to make things better for others as well. When we only do just enough to satisfy our own needs we have not contributed to life; Yeshua commands we love one another.
1 Corinthians 13: 4-7 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant,
does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered,
does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth;
bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
In our pursuit of humility:
"Look at the commencement of His (Christ’s) ministry. In the Sermon on the Mount, He opens with the Beatitudes: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth’ (Matthew 5:3,5). The very first words of His proclamation of the kingdom of heaven reveal the open gate through which we may enter. The kingdom comes to the poor, who have nothing in themselves. The earth is for the meek, who seek nothing for themselves. The blessing of heaven and earth are for the lowly. Humility is the secret of blessing for the heavenly and the earthly life." Andrew Murray
Humility honors our Creator. The opposite of humility is pride; pride keeps us from recognizing the handy work of the Almighty in us, in others and in His creation. When we fail to humble ourselves we put ourselves first - we fail to love others as ourselves; we are not looking closely at His divine guidance and care; we are worldly.
1John 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world.
Psalm 25:9 (NLT) He leads the humble in doing right,
teaching them his way.
Psalm 69:32 (NLT) The humble will see their God at work and be glad.
Let all who seek God’s help be encouraged.
Ephesians 4:2 (NLT) Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love.
(Sources not verified.)
A professor at CCNY for a physiological psych class told his class about bananas. He said the expression "going bananas" is from the effects of bananas on the brain. Read on:
Never, put your banana in the refrigerator!!!
Bananas contain three natural sugars - sucrose, fructose and glucose combined with fiber.
A banana gives an instant, sustained and substantial boost of energy.
Research has proven that just two bananas provide enough energy for
a strenuous 90-minute workout. No wonder the banana is the
number one fruit with the world's leading athletes.
But energy isn't the only way a banana can help us keep fit.
It can also help overcome or prevent a substantial number
of illnesses and conditions, making it a must to add to our daily diet.
Depression: According to a recent survey undertaken by MIND amongst people suffering from depression, many felt much better after eating a banana.
This is because bananas contain tryptophan, a type of protein that the body converts into serotonin, known to make you relax, improve your mood and generally make you feel happier.
PMS: Forget the pills - eat a banana. The vitamin B6 it contains
regulates blood glucose levels, which can affect your mood.
Anemia: High in iron, bananas can stimulate the production of
hemoglobin in the blood and so helps in cases of anemia.
Blood Pressure: This unique tropical fruit is extremely high
in potassium yet low in salt, making it perfect to beat blood pressure.
So much so, the US Food and Drug Administration has just allowed
the banana industry to make official claims for the fruit's ability to
reduce the risk of blood pressure and stroke.
Brain Power: 200 students at a Twickenham (Middlesex) school
(England) were helped through their exams this year by eating bananas
at breakfast, break, and lunch in a bid to boost their brain power.
Research has shown that the potassium-packed fruit can assist
learning by making pupils more alert.
Constipation: High in fiber, including bananas in the diet can
help restore normal bowel action, helping to overcome the problem
without resorting to laxatives.
Heartburn: Bananas have a natural antacid effect in the body,
so if you suffer from heartburn, try eating a banana for soothing relief.
Morning Sickness: Snacking on bananas between meals helps to keep blood sugar levels up and avoid morning sickness.
Mosquito bites: Before reaching for the insect bite cream, try rubbing the affected area with the inside of a banana skin.
Many people find it amazingly successful at reducing swelling and irritation.
Nerves: Bananas are high in B vitamins that help calm the nervous system.
Overweight and at work? Studies at the Institute of Psychology in
Austria found pressure at work leads to gorging on comfort food like chocolate
and chips. Looking at 5,000 hospital patients, researchers found the most obese were more likely to be in high-pressure jobs. The report concluded that, to avoid panic-induced food cravings, we need to control our blood sugar level by snacking on high carbohydrate foods every two hours to keep levels steady.
Ulcers: The banana is used as the dietary food against intestinal disorders
because of its soft texture and smoothness. It is the only raw fruit that can be eaten without distress in over-chronicler cases.
It also neutralizes over-acidity and reduces irritation by coating the lining of the stomach.
Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD): Bananas can help
SAD sufferers because they contain the natural mood enhancer tryptophan.
Smoking &Tobacco Use: Bananas can also help people
Trying to give up smoking. The B6, B12 they contain, as well as the potassium and magnesium found in them, help the body recover from the effects of nicotine withdrawal.
Stress: Potassium is a vital mineral, which helps normalize the heartbeat, sends oxygen to the brain and regulates your body's water balance.
When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, thereby reducing our potassium levels. These can be rebalanced with the help of a high-potassium banana snack.
Strokes: According to research in The New England Journal of Medicine,
eating bananas as part of a regular diet can cut the risk of death by
strokes by as much as 40%!
So, a banana really is a natural remedy for many ills. When you
compare it to an apple, it has four times the protein, twice the
carbohydrate, three times the phosphorus, five times the vitamin A and iron, and twice the other vitamins and minerals. It is also rich in potassium
and is one of the best value foods around. So maybe its time to change
that well-known phrase so that we say, "A banana a day keeps the doctor away!"
A little humor with a point:
Living on Earth is expensive, but it does include a free trip around the sun.
The only time the world beats a path to your door is if you are in the bathroom.
The mind is like a parachute; it works much better when it is open.
Never take life seriously. Nobody gets out alive, anyway.
There are two kinds of pedestrians… the quick and the dead.
An unbreakable toy is useful for breaking other toys.
A closed mouth gathers no feet.
Good health is merely the slowest possible rate at which one can die.
Jury: Twelve people who determine which client has the better attorney.
The only difference between a rut and a grave is the depth.
It is never too late to improve yourself.
The older you get, the less attention you get.
You can inherit wealth but never wisdom.
Almost nobody got cancer or heart disease before the year 1905.
It is better to be faithful than to be famous.
Many people are wise until they open their mouth.
Little white lies always lead to a case of the blues.
Love and the Cabbie
By: Art Buchwald
I was in New York the other day and rode with a friend in a taxi. When we got out, my friend said to the driver, "Thank you for the ride. You did a superb job of driving."
The taxi driver was stunned for a second, then he said, "Are you a wise guy or something?"
"No, my dear man, and I'm not putting you on. I admire the way you keep cool in heavy traffic."
"What was that all about?" I asked.
"I am trying to bring love back to New York," he said. "I believe it's the only thing that can save the city."
"How can one man save New York?"
"It's not one man. I believe I have made the taxi driver's day. Suppose he has 20 fares. He's going to be nice to those 20 fares because someone was nice to him. Those fares in turn will be kinder to their employees or shopkeepers or waiters or even their own families. Eventually, the goodwill could spread to at least 1,000 people. Now, that isn't bad, is it?"
"But, you're depending on that taxi driver to pass your goodwill onto others."
"I'm not depending on it," my friend said. "I'm aware that the system isn't foolproof, so I might deal with 10 different people today. If, out of 10, I can make three people happy, then eventually I can influence the attitudes of 3,000 more."
"It sounds good on paper," I admitted, "but I'm not sure it works in practice."
"Nothing is lost if it doesn't. It didn't take any of my time to tell that man he was doing a good job. He neither received a larger tip nor a smaller tip. If it fell on deaf ears, so what. Tomorrow, there will be another taxi driver whom I can make happy."
"You're some kind of a nut," I said.
"That shows you how cynical you have become. I have made a study of this. The thing that seems to be lacking, besides money of course, for our postal employees, is that no one tells people who work for the post office what a good job they're doing."
"But they're not doing a good job."
"They're not doing a good job because they feel no one cares if they do or not. Why shouldn't someone say a kind word to them?"
We were walking past a structure in the process of being built and passed five workmen eating their lunch. My friend stopped. "That's a magnificent job you men have done. It must be difficult and dangerous work."
The five men eyed my friend suspiciously.
"When will it be finished?"
"June," a man grunted.
"Ah, that really is impressive. You must all be very proud."
We walked away. I said to him, "I haven't seen anyone like you since 'The Man from La Mancha'."
"When those men digest my words, they will feel better for it. Somehow the city will benefit from their happiness."
"But you can't do this all alone!" I protested. "You're just one man!"
"The most important thing is not to get discouraged. Making people in the city become kind again is not an easy job, but if I can enlist other people in my campaign..."
"You just winked at a very plain-looking woman," I said.
"Yes, I know," he replied. "And if she's a schoolteacher, her class will be in for a fantastic day!"
Do your part in spreading the word of this campaign. It's off to a good start -- I just made a few thousand aware of it.
1. Shepherds and Magi - Luke 2:8-20: Matthew 2:1-2
2. In 1611
3. At Rephidim - Exodus 17:8
4. His own blood - Hebrews 13:12
5. Baal worship - 2 Kings 10:28
6. King Josiah - 2 Kings 22:3-5
7. Hannah - 1 Samuel 1:27
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