Soapboxes and Servants

I’m revisiting one of my posts from several years ago.  It seems God wanted to remind me of its message today.  Perhaps there’s another who needs to hear this message, as well.


Sometimes I stand on my soapbox.  Sometimes I climb even further and sit on my high horse.  I like it from up there.  I can see much more clearly in that position.  I can think without the distractions of the opinions of others.  I can make my declarations without interruption from those standing below.  I can feel satisfied and proud of myself for standing up, for saying what I believe, for spreading the message of truth and what is right (at least, what I think is truth and what I think is right).

Yes, I can stand on my soapbox and sit on my high horse because it’s the easy thing to do.  In fact, we all can do what is easy.  It’s the difficult that gives us problems.  It’s those things we know we should do, such as walking in the steps of Jesus, that we find so hard.  For His steps may lead us to the houses of sinners or require us to love the unlovable.  Jesus’ steps may direct us to wash the feet of our brothers and sisters in Christ, to serve our neighbors or to forgive our enemies.  The steps of Jesus may even require us to rethink our definitions of truth and re-evaluate what we believe is right.

Certainly, to follow in our Savior’s steps is no easy task but I can’t help but think that we make it harder than it should be.  You see, it’s tough to be a servant from the lofty heights on which we choose to stand.  And it’s difficult to share our Savior’s love while clinging to the reigns of our pride.  It appears it would be easier to follow in the steps of Jesus if we were a bit closer to the ground.

Oh, Lord, forgive me for climbing atop my soapbox and for mounting that high horse in times when You want me to deny myself, swallow my pride and simply serve others.  I want to follow in your steps.  So make me a servant, dear Lord.  May my words and my actions exalt only You.  Amen.


Mark 10:45 (NIV) For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.

Philippians 2:5-7 (NIV) In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.

Mark 9:35 (ESV) And he sat down and called the twelve. And he said to them, “If anyone would be first, he must be last of all and servant of all.”

Galatians 2:20 (ESV) I have been crucified with Christ. It is no longer I who live, but Christ who lives in me. And the life I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.

 

A Year of Smiles – Day 174

Reason to SMILE #174: WEDDINGS

 

Blissful and elegant,

A charming delight,

Eagerly enters

The beauty in white.

 

Dapper and dashing,

A fear-stricken mess,

Anxiously awaits

The groom at his best.

 

Shiny and lighthearted,

A roomful of grins,

Respectfully dotes

Their fam’ly and friends.

 

The scene is a wonder

Where time has no end.

When two become one,

A new life begins.

 

But is it the picture

We place on the wall?

Is it as perfect

As our minds recall?

 

Last time I checked,

A wedding takes work.

One day of magic

Leaves dad in the lurch.

 

And on the blessed day

Not one thing is right –

Not flowers, not cake,

Not dresses, not lights.

 

The Moms are both frantic;

Dads sink in defeat.

The flower girl’s mad

And stomping her feet.

 

The bridesmaids are fighting;

The groomsmen don’t care.

The bride’s feet are cold;

The groom is… nowhere!

 

So many emotions

In such a short time.

So many mishaps

To thwart groom and bride.

 

So what’s the big hubbub?

Why all of the fuss?

Is it all worth it

To turn me to us?

 

Despite all the chaos,

There’s one thing that’s true:

It’s worth any price

To hear said, “I do.”

 

“I do take my lover

To be by my side

I promise to stay

Our love will abide.

 

“I will fight to uphold

This most sacred vow

And when times are rough

We’ll make it… somehow.”

 

And when your days married

Have turned into years,

You’ll look back and smile

(Perhaps shed some tears)

 

On all of the folly

Of your special day

And thank God for blessing

Your life anyway!



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A Year of Smiles – Day 170

Reason to SMILE #170: WHEN SOMEONE THINKS OF YOU


“I have a ticket that I’m not using,” said the voice on the phone, “and I thought you might like to have it.”

It was early afternoon when my phone rang. My friend was returning home after being out of town and wanted only to rest when she arrived but she had a ticket for an event that she didn’t want to go to waste. She thought of me. Although I wasn’t able to attend, either, I was appreciative of the offer. She may not have realized it but her simple gesture made my day. 

It’s a wonderful feeling to know someone is thinking of you, isn’t it? Imagine if we all decided to let others know how often we think of them and pray for them. What a difference such a simple thing would make! We wouldn’t be able to count the SMILES!

Had anyone on your mind lately? Did you see a picture or hear a joke and think of a friend you haven’t spoken with in years? Did a name cross your mind out of the blue? Call that person. Send an email. Text a message. Whatever method of communication you choose, I know the person on the receiving end is sure to be SMILING.

A Year of Smiles – Day 169

Reason to SMILE #169: SUPERMAN

“I’m Superman,” my dad declared. “Didn’t you know that?”

“No, you’re not!” my siblings and I all protested.

“I am! I can lift this car with one hand,” Dad claimed.

We all responded with cheers to see our dad prove he was indeed Superman.

“Ok, here goes.” Without hesitation, Dad continued, “Wanna see me do it again?”

We protested again, “You didn’t do anything!”

With a grin on his face, Dad explained, “I did it so fast you couldn’t see me!”

He may not have lifted our car but there has never been any doubt in my mind that my dad is Superman. There’s no better dad and I’m grateful for him. He is my biggest fan and I can always depend on him for support, for help, for wise advice and for prayer. 

I’m blessed to have such a good father in my life, someone I can look up to, follow in his footsteps and trust to always love and accept me. You may not be able to say the same – at least not about an earthly father.  But you do have a Heavenly Father who is always good. He loves you and will always be there for you. He will never let you down or disappoint you. He’s even better than Superman! 😉

Cape or no cape – my dad always makes me SMILE and I know it’s because he’s following the example of the greatest Father of all!

Psalm 68:5 (ESV) Father of the fatherless and protector of widows is God in his holy habitation.

James 1:17 (ESV) Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change.

1 John 3:1 (NIV) See what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.

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A Year of Smiles – Day 150

heart-home-imageReason to SMILE #150: HOME

 

Home is where the heart is.

It’s the place where I belong,

The place where rest comes easy,

Where I never feel alone.

 

Home is where guards are dropped –

True colors can be shown –

Where PJs can be worn about

And hair need not be combed.

 

Peace and love fill its walls;

It’s often filled with laughter.

Of course, no home is perfect –

It’s worth we must look after.

 

Times may get tough and bleak.

Trials may come and tempers flare

But a multitude of sins

Can a loving home repair.

 

I find it hard to wander

From this place that I call home

For it’s where my SMILES begin

And where my Loves are grown!

 

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 123

Reason to SMILE #123: BOARD GAMESfirst-place-emoticon

I come from a family of eight – six children and two parents.  All of us kids are grown, married and have kids of our own.  (None of us have six kids, though.  I can’t imagine why? 😉 )  We’re now a family of 24, including spouses and grandchildren.

I’m sure you can imagine that gathering together on holidays is quite an ordeal.  We’re all spread across the country.  And even if we could all make travel arrangements, who has a house big enough?  When we all are able to get together, though, being a little cramped doesn’t bother us.  Seriously, my siblings and I are used to it.  My parents used to squeeze us all into a little, bitty Ford Fiesta – I’m talkin’ the original 1970s model.  (Long before the mandatory use of seat belts!)

Though logistics have often kept us apart, holidays and family gatherings when we all can attend are a blast!  There’s always a lot of catching up to do, lots of reminiscing, lots of good ol’ ribbing and lots of food.  No matter the event, though, we almost always end up playing some sort of board game.  I love it!

Now, normally board games are a fun and relaxing way to spend time with family or friends.  There’s nothing relaxing about playing games with my family!  We are some of the most competitive people I know.  None of us like to lose – none of us.  Picking teams is always a problem, too.  Certain of us cannot be teamed together because it would be “unfair” to everyone else.  Waah! Waah!  Why do you think my oldest brother and I want to be on a team together??

Regardless of the final team picks or even the choice of game, family gatherings always bring me SMILES!  After all, it’s not what we’re playing or who ends up winning, it’s the fact that we’re all together that matters.

Strike that.  Walking away from a family game with a win – that’s a SMILE you can hold over your siblings’ heads for years!  😉

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 122

Reason to SMILE #122: COLORS

What if all the blue crayons

In your color case

Decided all the green crayons

Were simply a big waste?

 

“You’re too green,” they might say.

“You’re not like us at all.

We don’t need your kind around.

Get out!” they’d say with gall.

 

Pushing the green crayons out

Of the color box,

The blues would then settle in

Their spacious, comfy spots.

 

“Ah!” the blues would then proclaim.

“This extra room is nice

But the reds might say it’s theirs

And that will not suffice.”

 

The crayons blue would soon begin

To push the reds out, too,

Along with every other shade

Til all was left was blue.

 

“Oh, what freedom! We’ve so much space,”

The blues would then shout.

Now, we can color everything.

Our hue’s the best, no doubt.”

 

Upon this declaration,

The crayons blue would jump

From their box to color the world –

Ev’ry rock, ev’ry road, ev’ry bump.

 

They’d first begin with the sky.

Oh, what wonderful hues!

They’d paint the sky almost as bright

As God himself would do.

 

Dark blue, light blue, gray blue, teal-

Endless shades there’d be!

Blue cars, blue pants, blue, blue, blue

As far as one could see.

 

Then stepping back to survey

All that they had colored,

These lofty blues would be pleased.

They didn’t need the others.

 

Somewhere, then, I’d like to think,

From in the crayon box,

An old and used up blue crayon

Would climb up to the top.

 

“Hey!” he’d shout. “What about

The sun, the grass and flowers?

The wondrous beauty of these can’t

Be captured by mere blue power.

 

“Yes,” another blue would chime,

“How shall we color these?

The sun is not a shade of blue

Nor is the grass or trees.”

 

“We pushed out all the colors that

Could have done the job.

A brighter place this world could be

If their beauty, we did not rob.”

 

Nodding in agreement, I suspect

Each blue would slump

Knowing they had slighted the world

By being such big chumps!

 

I’m so glad God chose to use a multitude of colors to paint the world, aren’t you?  Imagine how boring and bland it would be without such a variety of colors.  Imagine how dull the world would be without such a variety of people.  And just like every color is needed to create a perfect picture of a beautiful sunset over the ocean, so also is every person needed to create a better world and to fill that world with bright and beautiful SMILES.

 

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 45

love-smiley-with-heart-eyesReason to SMILE #45: LOVE, OF COURSE!

I found my Valentine twenty-one years ago.  Like in any new relationship, Valentine’s Day was everyday!  We called each other countless times a day, rushed to embrace like we hadn’t seen each other in weeks when it had only been hours, bought thoughtful gifts and even sent each other love letters (remember actually writing on a piece of paper? 😉 ).  Ah, young love.

Now that we’ve been married 19 of those 21 years, have raise one child to college years and are working on just getting the 2nd kid out of 6th grade (3 more months!), the pitter-pattering heartbeat of young love has pretty much fizzled.  It’s a good thing, too, because all that stuff we do to impress and secure that new love is exhausting!  Don’t get me wrong, folks.  I love my husband more today than I did 21 years ago and he’d say the same about me.  But after 21 years of faithfulness, of tackling life’s trials together and of learning to live as one, there’s no question of our love for each other.

Maybe you haven’t found your Valentine, yet.  Or maybe the one you thought was your Valentine turned out to be just the opposite.  Today, you need to know that you ARE loved.  You are loved by One who sees you as worthy of a gift far greater than any diamond necklace, fancy dinner or bouquet of flowers.  You are loved by Jesus.  He gave His own life so you could find forgiveness, acceptance, fulfillment, peace, joy and eternal salvation.  His love will satisfy the deepest longings of your heart when the love of this world has failed you.  Now that is a Love that will make you SMILE – if you let Him!

Oh, I almost forgot….

To my husband on this Valentine’s Day: You can skip the flowers and the jewelry.  (Seriously, they’re too expensive and we have bills to pay.)  A kiss on the cheek every morning is all I need from you to make me SMILE….  And a Reese’s Peanut Butter Cup.  A Reese’s Peanut Butter cup would make me SMILE, too! 😉

A Year of Smiles – Day 8

Reason to SMILE #8 – BABIES

baby-emoticon

Little fingers, little toes,

Little shoes, little clothes,

Infectious laughs, big, bright eyes,

First attempts at saying “Bye-Bye”,

 

Faces smeared with oatmeal goo,

Noses wrinkled at new food,

Kicking feet and waving arms

To the beat of a Mickey Mouse song.

 

Babies!  There’s no greater cure

For your troubles – that’s for sure.

Just a glimpse is all you need

For instant SMILES – guaranteed.

 

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A Year of Smiles – Day 6

Reason to SMILE #6: HUGS

I give warm hugs.  This is the message on one of my t-shirts.  Beside this message is a picture of a goofy little snow man that seems to be falling apart.  You know that snow man, right?  He was really popular a few years ago when that one movie was released. Remember that movie? It was the one with princesses, a bad guy pretending to be a hero, a reindeer and an ice delivery man who becomes a reluctant hero.  Ring any bells?  No?  Okay, I’ll Let It Go then.  (Wink. Wink.)

Anyway, I feel a bit strange when I wear this t-shirt because I’m not usually one to offer hugs freely.  It makes me uncomfortable.  I don’t know why.  Don’t get me wrong.  I give hugs.  I hug my family.  I hug my kids at church.  I hug folks I haven’t seen in ages.  I just don’t hug each person I see every time I see them.  People who do that are true “warm huggers”.  They have a gift.

There are times, though, when I need a hug – times when my heart is heavy, when the burdens of life overwhelm, when there’s no answers to my problems and I just need to be held.  During these times, a warm hug is most welcome and does much good.

It’s amazing the power of a hug.  A hug can lift spirits and lighten a load. Hugs can even reduce blood pressure and improve emotional well-being and overall health. It’s true!  I read it on Facebook! (Wink. Wink.) Well, I do know one thing for certain – a hug given at just the right time can make the heaviest of hearts and loneliest of souls SMILE again.

I think I need to start giving more hugs.  How about you?