Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Consider yourself welcome...

Not long ago, I noticed this plaque hanging on the wall at my church.  I just had to snap a pic and share it on Facebook.

Would you believe that this pic was one of my most popular posts ever?! exaggeration.

It got me thinking...

How often in life do we feel welcome?

We may hide behind masks that appear to make us seem like we don't care what other people think about us or our lifestyle, but really.  Really.  Even with those masks, choices of edgy lifestyles, "going against the grain"---all of it---really we are all screaming out for love and acceptance in one way or another.

Some of our screams come with purple hair, some with tattoos and tongue rings, some with a scowl on the face that appears to say, "Leave me alone...I don't need you in my space."

Regardless of the look and tone of the scream, each one is our own unique way of saying, "Dare to love me.  Dare to accept me.  I dare you to welcome me in."

Unfortunately we have gotten a bit lazy and gullible when it comes to reading the vibes sent out by these masks.  We too frequently choose to fall for the false impression the person is attempting to pull over on us.  And, even if we do have the insight to see past the clever facades, we choose not to put forth the effort it might take to get real with the people who are needing us most.

I am pointing the finger at myself as I bring this tough subject up, but I need to make the statement that tough people need tough people.

People who look and act tough to love and tough to accept need love and acceptance as much as or more than anyone else.

On that note, people who appear to "have it all together" and seem to be loved by everyone---those people need real acceptance and love too.  We would be surprised to know how many apparently "happy" people are really lonely...really.

Let this be a wake-up call to us all that we need to look past appearances ("good" or "bad") and remember that the heart beneath the surface is very similar to the heart beneath ours.

When you read the things the Lord lays on my heart to share, I pray that His message that burns on my heart gets through to you.

That message I pray you hear and feel above all is---
Consider yourself welcome.

If my words don't convince you...consider His...

The LORD does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the LORD looks at the heart.

Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

Jesus stood and said in a loud voice, “Let anyone who is thirsty come to me and drink. Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.

Anyone who welcomes you welcomes me, and anyone who welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me.

Now the tax collectors and sinners were all gathering around to hear Jesus. But the Pharisees and the teachers of the law muttered, “This man welcomes sinners and eats with them.”

All those the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never drive away.

Stop judging by mere appearances, but instead judge correctly.

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