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When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’ “The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’ Matthew 25:39-40

I have a confession to make. I have a problem with ‘Christians’. I think it’s safe to say that because I’m honored to have been chosen by Christ. I’m so thankful that He willingly and lovingly forgave a weak-willed sinner like me, and continues to do so. So I’m well aware that when I point fingers I have four more pointing back at me and perhaps that’s good since I’m probably more guilty than most.

One of the most frequent accusations I hear about ‘us’ is that we are all just a bunch of hypocrites. When we hear that we’re tempted to use a quick comeback like: “Then join us, you’ll fit right in!”, or “Well, we aren’t perfect, we’re just forgiven”. But the reality is, it stings for any of us when our weaknesses and failures are flaunted to those outside the ‘circle’.

Maybe one of the reasons it’s so hard to hear the accusations is because there are so many times when I’ve seen people who claim to be Christians doing things that Jesus would never do. When I see people verbally (and sometimes physically) assault ‘corrupt and evil sinners’ in the name of Jesus I want to…..slap them! (or worse but then I’d be like them).

Don’t get me wrong. I have several close friends I truly admire for the way they reach out to those in need. There are many openly Christian organizations that do a tremendous work to show Christ’s love in times of disaster, and tragedy. God Bless You if you are in one of those groups!

But there are so many times when I hear people say things about how they’d never go back to church after they were treated badly, or hear horror stories of people in agony who have been stomped on in ‘the name of Jesus.’

It’s relatively easy to be ‘Christ-like’ in a situation where there is tragedy and disaster and it’s noble as well. The question is, how many people are silently struggling around us? How many are enduring the pain of divorce, addictions, abuse, anger and chemical dependency with no comfort from someone who is ‘Jesus in skin’?

We need to recognize that God did not put those who are down and out on earth for me to change, convict or save. He put them here for me to learn from, listen to, to challenge and be challenged by, and to enjoy together and if possible and to comfort along this journey we call life.

Here are some ideas that may help each of us (and I emphasize EACH of us) in making a difference among the silently struggling in our own little corner of the world. Each should be bathed in prayer and practiced until perfection.

First, keep your eyes and ears open to the feelings (not just the words) of those who you come in contact with. Many times people hide their pain in sarcasm, and other ways. The trained ear knows how to look past the shell of protection to see the real need.

Secondly, make time to be available. Look for service projects that need to be done. Volunteer at a school, a shelter, in your church, at a local ministry. Ministry doesn’t come to you. Search for it and you may be surprised that even though things in your life are not going well, being a servant not only elevates those who are suffering, it elevates you as well. Don’t let your own trouble keep you from being someone else’s comfort.

Thirdly, be available inspire of your own busy schedules. Service isn’t always convenient. There were many times in Jesus’ life when he took side trips because of need. Let the grass grow a little longer, the clothes pile up in the laundry and use that time to be a servant to someone in need.

Finally realize that being a servant to someone may require a personal price. You may have to sacrifice your reputation. People may question your motives. You may be taken advantage of. You may be accused wrongfully. That’s all part of being a servant. It happened to Jesus and will happen to you as well.

Big ‘C’ or little ‘c’? Which will it be in your life? Is your Christian faith a religion to practice or a relationship to enjoy and grow in?

PRAYER: Dear Jesus. When I think of your ministry on earth I’m in awe of your patient, giving and loving attitude. While I try to live my life so others will see You in me, I confess that I fall woefully short. Empower me with your Spirit to be a servant to those who may be silently suffering. Help me use my pain to comfort others. In your name I pray, Amen.

So God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them. Genesis 1:27

 They say a picture is worth a thousand words. When you can’t describe something the best thing to do is to show a picture, an image, of the item you want others to learn about. One day God walked through the world He had just created. Birds sang; water’s babbled; the breeze brought the fresh aroma of blooming flowers to His nostrils. He felt the warmth of the sun on His face as he watched a lion cub playing with a new born lamb. Life was good.

As He continued His stroll through the garden He looked around and thought, “I need to share this with someone. Someone that has emotions and intellect like I do. Someone that can choose to love my world and me. Someone that, while he shall have a beginning, can live eternally with me to enjoy fellowship with me.

He knelt one more time in the newly created soil and began to form His most amazing of all creations, man. For a time He walked with man and they enjoyed the intimacy of perfect relationship. While it was fulfilling to Him, God knew that man would need someone like himself who would be a helper. Someone who would stand beside him and fulfill the emotional and intellectual needs unique to man. So God created woman. Together they would share the intimate fellowship of love only possible through God, their Father.

The Bible tells us that we are created in the image of the Almighty God of the universe. We can not, and perhaps will not grasp the fullness of that truth until we see our master face to face. Being made in the image of God has individual as well as cultural implications for the Christ-follower. Individually it reminds us that we bear the DNA so to speak of deity. We are set apart from every other life form because we bear within us the capacity to love, to think, to choose intellectually and to live beyond the time allotted this physical shell we call a body. We will live forever, either with Jesus in Heaven or eternally separated from God in Hell.

Culturally, as Christ-followers, bearing the image of God means that we show those around us the essence and power of God through our lives. The dictionary defines image as an “exact likeness; a person strikingly like another person.” The image of God that those around us have is directly tied to what they see in us on a daily basis. We show what God is like when we get cut off on the interstate, or get lousy service at a restaurant, or are verbally and emotionally attacked or treated unjustly. If others were to describe God based on the His image shining through you, what kind of God would they see?

PRAYER: Holy Father and Creator God. I’m humbled when I try to comprehend the great love you have for me. I’m honored by the fact that you want an intimate relationship with me. I’m so unworthy of your love and grace. As I go forth I ask that in every life situation you would empower me to show others an image of You that would lead them to follow you. Empower me to believe in myself based on the fact that I am made in Your image. Amen.

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