My sun porch

My sun porch

Friday, December 27, 2013

Biblical wisdom - The Mister Rogers Way!

"Blessed is the one who finds wisdom, and the one who gets understanding, for the gain from her is better than gain from silver and her profit better than gold. She is more precious than jewels, and nothing you desire can compare with her. Long life is in her right hand; in her left hand are riches and honor. Her ways are ways of pleasantness, and all her paths are peace." -- Proverbs 3:13-18

Happy December 27th my friends! I haven't written for a long time. There are many reasons for this, mainly because I haven't felt very wise or very motivated to share my thoughts with others when my thoughts have been so jumbled and disjointed. Looking back, there have been many times in my life like this, when I am in a period of transition and confusion. I always come out of these times in a better place, but during them, I am frustrated and somewhat lost. I THINK, I am coming out of my latest bout of transition. Today, a need to write struck me and I must obey.

This morning a friend posted an inspirational clip from Mr. Rogers: "10 Mister Rogers Quotes to remember on Bad Days."  One forgets how wise the soft spoken, sweatered man really was. Mister Rogers was a Presbyterian minister from Pennsylvania who created the beloved "Mister Roger's Neighborhood" on PBS the year I was born, some 45 years ago. As I read these 10 quotes, it hit me that God is in each one without religion slapping you in the face.

1. "Who you are inside is what helps you make and do everything in life."  -- We all know that we should not judge people by outside appearances, even if that is so very hard. --
 "Do not let your adorning be external—the braiding of hair and the putting on of gold jewelry, or the clothing you wear— but let your adorning be the hidden person of the heart with the imperishable beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which in God's sight is very precious." -- 1 Peter 3:3-4

2. "Little by little we human beings are confronted with situations that give us more and more clues that we aren't perfect." -- Every day I discover some of those clues about myself. What if I remembered that the other human beings around me are not perfect either and found ways to be more forgiving when they mess up? -- "For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God." -- Romans 3:23

3. "Discovering the truth about ourselves is a lifetime's work, but it's worth the effort." -- We all have a perception of who we are, and that perception changes as our situations change. Some of us strive to work hard to  be be self aware and LEARN from those situations. Some of go through our whole lives BLIND as bats! -- "For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself." --  Galatians 6:3

4. "To love someone is to strive to accept that person exactly the way the he or she is, right here and now." -- OH, how hard this is! Sure we want to love people, but only if they fit into the mold of who WE think they should be! If someone is a different race, from a different country, lives a different lifestyle, has different politics, thinks a different way, we want them to CHANGE before we can love them. I don't think that's what Jesus meant when he said, "A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another: just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another." -- John 13:34 -- What if Jesus ONLY loved us and accepted us if we lived they way he taught us and were without sin? I think we'd be in BIG trouble!

5. "You rarely have time for everything you want in this life, so you need to make choices. And hopefully your choices can come from a deep sense of who you are." -- Who are you? If you believe you are a child of God, then you are a son or daughter of the King! That makes you a prince or a princess! Shouldn't we live our lives as if we are royalty and make choices that glorify our Father the King? -- "Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? You are not your own, for you were bought with a price. So glorify God in your body." -- 1 Corinthians 6:19-20 

6. "There is no normal life that is free of pain. It's the very wrestling with our problems that can be the impetus of our growth." -- If we didn't have pain or problems, we wouldn't be able to grow and neither would we truly appreciate the times of comfort and peace. -- "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” -- John 16:33

7. "The world needs a sense of worth and it will achieve it only by its people feeling that they are worthwhile." -- People NEED to feel worthwhile! If we tear someone down because of who they are or what they have done, than we are really keeping the world from being what it CAN be and what God envisioned for it to be. -- "Do not speak evil against one another, brothers. The one who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks evil against the law and judges the law. But if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge. There is only one lawgiver and judge, he who is able to save and to destroy. But who are you to judge your neighbor?" -- James 4:11-12 -- And remember, those that do not truly know God and do not understand the law can't be bound by the law. How can they come to know God if we are tearing them down and making them feel unworthy of God's love?

8. "There are three ways to ultimate success: The first way is to be kind. The second way is to be kind. The third way is to be kind." -- It REALLY is that simple! -- "Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you." -- Ephesians 4:32

9. "Often when you are at the end of something, you are at the beginning of something else." -- New beginnings are always waiting on us! -- "Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert." Isaiah 43:19 -- The following statement is NOT in the Bible, but it is nonetheless very true: When God closes a door, he often opens a window. Look for the open windows and leave behind the closed doors.

10. "The real issue in life is not how many blessings we have, but what we do with our blessings. Some people have many blessings and hoard them and some have few and give everything away." -- If we gave more of what we have, (not just money, but time, love, compassion, peace, comfort) others will will be blessed and God will bless us in return. -- "Give, and it will be given to you. Good measure, pressed down, shaken together, running over, will be put into your lap. For with the measure you use it will be measured back to you.” -- Luke 6:38

I think the real genius of Fred Rogers is that he said, taught and LIVED these statements each day of his life in a way that attracted others of all faiths, all types and all walks of life all over the world. Yes, those of us that know God and read His word know that these statements come from God's words and the teachings of Jesus. But, to those that are far from God, speaking only in Biblical terms often shoves them further and further away. If we LIVED these statements every day, then we too could attract others the way that the beloved Mister Rogers did. THEN we can show them that we live according to God's word and direct them to live that way too!

Be blessed today my friends, and be a blessing to those around you!

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