Coke Cola Glasses

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I have received a real joy from my husband over the last few weeks. It started a couple of weeks ago after his first cataract surgery. I must tell you my husband has had glasses since he was in first grade and they were thick ones. Some people have referred to them as the Coke Cola glasses.
 
The last few months before surgery he could barely see. Everything he saw was blurry. I worried about him driving back and forth to work. After actually going to a real eye doctor and not a doc in the box it was mentioned he needed surgery like yesterday on both eyes. Surgery was scheduled.
 
Later that day and the next day as his eye recuperated from the surgery he began to be excited. He began an hourly report of all that he could see. He could see roof lines and trees and on and on. I was excited for him. He could begin to read and see things he hasn’t seen in years. He was extremely excited to get the second one done.
 
We went the following week to get the second one done. Again later that day and the next we went through the report of all he could see. It was as if he was blind, but now could see. It was exciting. Yes, I must admit after awhile it got a little old, but I was excited for him. He went on to tell me how he had tried to take off his glasses to shower or go to bed just to realize he did not have glasses on. He had to be out in the rain for a small amount of time and found he did not have to free his glasses from the rain. He is so happy and excited.
 
God reminded me of a few things. I was reminded of a time several years ago when some of our youth back in Indiana had come back from a retreat, camp, or some religious outing they had taken. These kids had changed they were different. They came to a group I was a part of to share all that had taken place in their lives. I was reminded of the song that is popular right now about being a soul on fire. These kids were souls on fire. They had plans for the church and the youth group and they wanted to see some changes made. I was so excited for these kids. It reminded me of an earlier time when I experienced much of the same things. The only problem with this was they were talking to a group of older ladies who had lost their fire. They had lost their hope in the church of ever being grander or a church who was a soul on fire. So, instead of encouraging these youth they just listened without giving any encouragement. At the end they mentioned how they hoped they could accomplish these things but told them not to be too hopeful. They quenched their spirit. I was devastated. Eventually, these kids lost that fire and I am not sure how many of them attend church today. These kids had been blinded but saw all that could be. They could see all the things we older ones couldn’t see, but instead of encouraging them or being excited for them we put the blinders back on them.
 
I have thought of others throughout my life that has been blinded by sin and despair. Christ came into their lives and they were excited. They were blind, but now could see, unfortunately others didn’t want them to see as clearly as they could. They were afraid of changes or maybe jealous of what these sighted people could see and was upset at their loss of their own eyesight.
 
While listening to my hubby’s report hourly I had to be careful not to put the blinders back on him. I had to be excited for him. I had to encourage him.
 
How often we put blinders back on people who have seen Christ for the first time. We quench their spirit we douse their fire. How sad.

 
God quickly reminded me I experience this much the same way. I go to a retreat or other Christian functions and my fire gets flamed and it starts burning. I am excited to come home and make changes in my life. I am going to make sure I pray daily, read the Bible, I am going to make sure my walk with Christ is vibrant, real and so on and so on. I go to church and share my ideas with others and many times I get the same response as these kids got. I make all the promises just to find life happens and I slowly am blinded again. It happens to all of us along our walk. It’s hard to keep our eyesight sharp and clear. Situations happen and we lose sight.
 
So what’s the solution? Is there one? First, I think we have to be careful when we have our fires burning and our blinders off. We have to meet with others on a regular basis that have their blinders off. We can’t be around people who constantly douse our fires and want to put blinders back on us.
 
Second and foremost, I think we have to encounter God on a daily basis. I think we have to walk and talk with him on a routine basis. And, I am all for meditating and being in His Spirit at least once a week if not more often. By that I mean, turning everything off, (phones, TVs, Computers, tablets etc) going off to a quiet place and meditate. Listen to what he has for you. Make a prayer garden at home or go to a prayer garden. Visit a labyrinth and do the walk. Retreats, camps and walks away from home are great, but we can’t always fit them into our schedule. So instead of trying to create something that is impossible for us we create something that is possible. If you can’t find an hour a week to go off and be by yourself to meditate and experience God then life is happening too much for you. Don’t let life pass you by. Take time for God not life.
 
Finally, one last thing. What would have happened to my hubby’s spirit if I hadn’t encouraged him, been excited for him or doused his fire? When someone one comes to you and they are a soul on fire, don’t discourage them, life will do that. Encourage them, experience it with them and by all means enjoy them and their new found insight. Get close enough to them and it might just rub off and before you know it your blinders might fall off as well.
 
He replied, “The man they call Jesus made some mud and put it on my eyes. He told me to go to Siloam and wash. So I went and washed, and then I could see.” John 9:11
 
Do you have blinders on? Can you see as clearly as you’d like? Christ is waiting to open your eyes to all he has for you to see. We can choose to stay blinded or we can allow God to take off our blinders and see. My husband chose surgery and he can see clearly now. What is your choice?
 
Dear God: Thank you for doctors who perform surgeries that make us able to see clearly and better. Thank you for the excitement my husband has as he sees things he hasn’t seen in a long time. Help us as we take off our blinders and see things we’ve missed for awhile. Remind us to be encouragers and not discouragers. Help us to help others see you. Be with us as we get away to meditate on you and the words you have for us. Open our eyes that we might see. Amen
 

Open My Eyes Lord

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It’s hard to find good in a world that is in chaos. It is hard right now to see any good in the things around us. People are pitted against one another and riots seem to be the news for the day. Fear is the topic among many people today. The news media waits until the last few minutes before sharing a feel good story. So, why am I having trouble seeing the better picture?
I was reading the story of the blind man found in Luke 18:35-43, “As Jesus approached Jericho, a blind man was sitting by the roadside begging. When he heard the crowd going by, he asked what was happening. They told him, “Jesus of Nazareth is passing by.” He called out, “Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me!” Those who led the way rebuked him and told him to be quiet, but he shouted all the more, “Son of David, have mercy on me!” Jesus stopped and ordered the man to be brought to him. When he came near, Jesus asked him, “What do you want me to do for you?” “Lord, I want to see,” he replied. Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight; your faith has healed you.” Immediately he received his sight and followed Jesus, praising God. When all the people saw it, they also praised God.”
In this account the answer is obvious. When Jesus comes upon the blind man, the man shouts out for Jesus to have mercy on him. People are shouting for him to be quiet but he persists, finally he has Jesus’ attention. The question Jesus asks the man is what he wants from him. The man simple states “Lord, I want to see.” Jesus heals the man. 
I believe I am being blinded by the world. My eyesight has been taken from me and all I can see is darkness. When an eye mask is put on all you can see is darkness. There is no light to be seen. I am reminded just like this man I need to ask God to open my eyes and to allow my faith to restore my sight. I need to cry out to God and be persistent. I need to ask God to open my eyes to the beauty around me. I need for God to restore my faith in people. I need to have my eyes opened so I can see the love that is all around me and that abounds in those I surround myself with. I need to see God’s creation not what the world is creating. 
The blind man had to tell God what he wanted. The man wanted to see again. Once his eyes were opened I am sure he saw the vibrant colors of God’s creation. He saw beautiful people doing beautiful things that he had missed being blind. His faith made him see the good that was all around him. 
We use to sing a song, Open My Eyes That I May See.” Part of the first line goes, “open my eyes that I may see glimpses of truth thou has for me” Then the verse reads “Silently now I wait for thee, ready my God, thy will to see. Open My eyes illumine me, Spirit divine!” I need my eyes opened so I may see those who are hurting, afraid, and searching for hope. Instead of being upset with the rioters and those stirring up trouble I need to see them as people who are in need of prayer. There is so much good in this world today, but Satan is covering our eyes so we are blinded to it. 
It’s time we ask God to take off our blinders, open our eyes and allow our faith to be restored. Jesus needed to hear from the man what he wanted from him. It’s time we asked God to restore our eyesight to the beauty in this world. 
So many of us are fearful for our children and grandchildren’s future, but if we ask God to open our eyes we will see he has them in the palm of his hands and nothing or nobody will take them from him. 
I have been looking through the eyes of the world and seen darkness. I am now asking God to restore my eyesight and allow me to see all the good in this world and to block out those things that are not good for my eyesight. 
I want to see those who need love, who need hope and need something more in their lives. I need to be able to see God at work in the lives of those around me and in my community. So, I am asking for mercy. I am asking God to forgive me for allowing the world to put blinders on me and blinding me. And when he asks what I want from him, I will be more than happy to tell him I want to see things through his eyes. 
I am not sure when he was blind this man did much praising, but once he could see he spent his time praising and thanking God. Let us together pray that God removes the blinders from our eyes and let us see all the good things God has in store for us. Let us not tear down others, but build others up. Let’s spend more time praising and less time stressing. 
Are you wearing blinders today? Are you looking through the eyes of the world today or seeing through God’s eyes?
Let us this Thanksgiving be full of praise and thanksgiving as once more God opens our eyes and restores our faith. 
Dear God, I have been blinded by all the hate in this world. Help me as I take off the blinders and see the all the love in this world. Let me see your creation in vibrant and radiant colors. Let me really see the beauty in the world around me and not take anything for granted. Open my eyes that I may see the needs of others. Show me where love and hope and faith are needed and use me to bring them to those places. And so open my eyes that I may this coming day be able to do some work of  peace for you. Amen