Looking After…

Gloria Scott  sunset photo Feb 2013

photo: Gloria Scott

(an acrostic prayer)

Lord, God, Creator and Sustainer of us all, we come to worship You, Father.

Open Your eyes of love to us today, Father, that we may feel You looking after us, even now!

Observe in us, Your children, something of a reflection of Your love for mankind, Father. May we look after the people You put in our paths, as You look after us.

Kernel Your love in us so the very center of our beings will be full of Your love and peace and joy and justice, as You look after us today.

Invigorate those God-given emotions that cause us to see as You see; to do as You would do, and to look after one another in Your name.

Naked we feel when we accept Your looking after us, Father. Help us to know the joy of realizing that Your love is what is looking after us.

Gather us to Yourself, Father, that You may help us see You and that we would worship You in spirit and in truth.

Abbreviate Your anger toward us today, Father, for the sake of Your Son, Jesus Christ, as we repent of our sins and seek forgiveness.

Fearful, we are, Father, that sometimes we try to hide from Your “looking after.” Satan has, once again, sold us a bill-of-goods.  And we are less for having taken it as gospel instead of Your Word..

Thrust us from this place of comfort into Your world to “look after” even as we are “looked after” by You Father!

Empty us of pride and selfish reactions to Your offer of grace and mercy, O God. Fill us with Your Spirit today!

Remind us of whose we are, dear Father. We are Your children who need looking after today and we bow before you O God.

In the name of the one who “looks after” us, even Jesus Christ, we pray!  Amen!!

The Path Continues…

Thoughts on “Looking After”…

photo: Hammond Coates

photo: Hammond Coates

(Note to readers: This is the longest post that I have ever written.  I apologize for the length, but the words wouldn’t stop!  Yes, I blame it on the words!!!)

I was born and raised in a rural, south central Virginia farming community in the 1950s. We had neighbors who did the same things as we did, we were all farmers. We raised chickens, pigs, cows, had a horse or two on the farm at various times while I was there. We planted corn, tobacco, wheat, oats, soybeans, garden vegetables and had a variety of dogs and cats during my life on the farm.

One of the best parts of that rural lifestyle was what was called, “looking after”. We “looked after” one another’s farm, children, and other living things. I didn’t know any other way than when someone needed “looking after”, we did it, no fanfare, no t-shirts that called attention to what we were doing, we just did it because that was the way we were raised. “Looking after” or caring for someone or something was just what you did in the course of living.  It was the way of life.

This “looking after” was in essence, the taking care of of someone or something when there was need in the community. For example: if a person were to get sick and not be able to harvest a crop of some kind, the neighbors would get together and “look after” getting that crop harvested for that family. There was no thought of getting paid to do this, it was just a part of people “looking after” people in need. If need this “looking after” would extend to the preparing the crop for sale or preparing for use by the neighbor.  It was a comprehensive “looking after.” And it wasn’t a one-time thing.  If needed, the neighbors would do it again and again for the same person and the rest of the community.

Beyond doing for the sick or incapacitated, people would also “look after” the farms of others while they were away, maybe on vacation or visiting family or even going to town to shop. It was a comfort to be able to know that your neighbor was “looking after” your stuff, whatever it may have been. People knew that whatever went on in that community, people had each other’s back, so to speak. I can remember times when suspicious people were confronted as to the purpose that they were on a certain piece of property while the owner was not present.

I remember a time or two that I got into a little “trouble” at the local school where I attended. I was hoping to get back to the house and explain my side of the situation only to find out that I had been “looked after” by a neighbor who was also a teacher at the school and she had already filled my mother in with the particulars of the trouble. (It seems that it really does take a village to raise a child, at least in my community.) Needless to say, I didn’t appreciate that kind of being, “looked after” at the time. But looking back, it was a good thing to have someone “looking after” you, for in times of real need you could count on someone to be there to walk beside you, no matter what the situation.  I think I learned that at an early age and it has served me well over these years. I believe that learning this “looking after” concept was the beginning of knowing about trust and grace and mercy as well as love.

There is something very comforting about being “looked after.” I find it comforting to know that someone knows my struggles and is willing to come alongside and help me. This sounds strangely similar to my God!

I know, for some, this sounds like a direct invasion of their privacy. These people feel that’s it’s no ones business what they do or what struggles they may have.  That attitude strikes me as a very lonely view of life. Although I must confess that I’ve been there myself.  I grew up in a set of standards that said we keep our business to ourselves and we don’t share those outside of the family. But I would hasten to say that we always “looked after” people in our neighborhood and they “looked after” us, when needed.

I realize there is a line that you shouldn’t cross when “looking after” people, but there is a definite need in our world to, once again, “look after” one another.

Before you complain too much about me suggesting that we need to do more “looking after” each other, I’ll confess that I know where my concept of “looking after” each other was reinforced from the earliest times of my life. I know my views expressed here come from my Christian world-view.  That may turn you off immediately, I hope not, but that is your freedom.  But I know that my God wants me to share what He had given to me and that includes “looking after” those in need or “looking after” those in my sphere of influence, whoever they may be.

I will confess that we Christians must bear some of the blame for the condition of the world around us.  I believe that too many Christians have abandoned this concept of personally “looking after” others in favor of a non-personal, anonymous approach through the government. “That’s what I pay taxes for’” some say. I say, “Really?” I believe we have bought into the concept that I don’t need to be personally involved with others as long as I can get someone or something else to do it for me. Sorry, I don’t buy that! (That’s as political as I will get.)

You see, I know I NEED looking after. I cannot live this life I’ve been given without someone, yes, a personal relationship is required here, “looking after” me.  I admit that and accept that as a human being.  I cannot always lift myself up by my own bootstraps.

Sorry, folks, life does not work that way. I only hope I can “look after” as I have been “looked after”.  I know I do not walk alone in this life. Beyond family friends, and acquaintances, I know my God “looks after” me through His Son, Jesus Christ and by the presence of His Holy Spirit. I know He sees and knows me.

Being ‘looked after” is, for me, the greatest expression of love, grace, and mercy that my God shows me.

“Looking after” someone or something, is my expression of trust and hope. Let me encourage you to “look after” someone today.  Take care of your friends and those you come into contact with daily.  You never know what they are going through and how “looking after” them will, in turn, cause you to see even more “looking after” that is needed. Don’t run from “looking after.” I beg you, stay and “look after” someone.

Don’t fear “looking after,” for in “looking after,” you will be “looked after.”

June 29, 2015

The Path Continues…

“Looking After…”

photo: Chris Adams

photo: Chris Adams

I’ve been thinking about writing an acrostic with the phrase, “Looking After….”  Several situations have arisen concerning individuals that I’m acquainted with that have me thinking about what it means to “Look After” someone or something.
I’m posting to ask your help before I write my thoughts on the subject. Any comments about your experiences would be very helpful.  What does it mean in your culture or family or situations to “look after” someone or something?  I would appreciate any comments as I look to write about it myself. It may turn out to be more than an acrostic, but we’ll see what develops.
Thanks, in advance!
Hammond

Tuesday Morning Thoughts…

photo: Hammond A Coates,   Camp Crossroads Rhododendron, Amherst County, Virginia

photo: Hammond A Coates, Camp Crossroads, Rhododendron and Mountain Laurel, Amherst County, Virginia

“But thanks be to God, who made us his captives and leads us along in Christ’s triumphal procession. Now wherever we go he uses us to tell others about the Lord and to spread the Good News like a “sweet” perfume. OUR LIVES are a fragrance presented by Christ to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those being saved and by those perishing. To those who are perishing we are a fearful smell of death and doom.  But to those who are being saved we are a life-giving perfume. And who is adequate for such a task as this?” 2 Corinthians 2:14-17 NLT

HOW DO YOU SMELL TODAY? WHO ARE WE SPENDING OUR TIME WITH AND WHO ARE WE TELLING ABOUT THE LORD TODAY? CAN CHRIST PRESENT US TO GOD AS A SWEET FRAGRANCE TODAY?
JUST THINKING TODAY…HOW ABOUT YOU?

The Path Continues…

The Word of God…

Amy Wiley Photo Dam

photo: Amy Wiley 

(an acrostic prayer)

Tender us Your ear, O Lord of Hosts, as we come out of this world with its many voices.  May we hear Your voice over all the murmur of this world through Your word today, O God.

Heavy are the temptations which the words of this world lay at our feet daily, Father. May Your promises provide us a way of escape.

Encircle us, around and about, with the word You have for us today. May Your Spirit lead us and interpret Your word to our lives today.

Withdraw Your judgment from us, O God, we beg, as we come in repentance of our sins. We have listened too long to the sounds and allures of this world. Forgive us, Lord for Your names sake.

Opaque is our vision, Father. We have allowed this world to cloud our eyes. We ask for the renewed vision only Your word can bring, even today, O God.

Rain Your wisdom and Your grace and Your mercy down on us as we wait before you, Father.

Declare Your righteousness among Your people again today as You are praised, adored and worshipped, Father.

Occupy us, Father! Inhabit our thoughts, our prayers, our praises and our petitions as we worship only You, Father.

Forgive our foolish ways, O God, out of the abundance of Your mercy and love for us, Your children.

Garment us in the white-robbed garments of the forgiven, dear Father. May this world see and know we are Yours, O God.

Odor us with the fragrance of Your love and mercy among us today, O God!

Distinguish us by Your love found in Your word to us, Father, even Jesus Christ Your Son! May this world know You by knowing us, O God!

           In the name of the Your Word, even Jesus Christ, we pray!  Amen and Amen!

The Path Continues…

In His Time…

Amy Wiley Photo

photo: Amy Wiley

(an acrostic prayer)

In the presence of Your holiness and beauty we come to say we love You, dear Father.

Narrow our thoughts and our hearts that we might be very present to You in this Your time, O God.

Hallowed is this time, Father. Anytime we can sit at Your feet and be silent and listen to You, it is a special time, Lord. Help us to hear today.

Idle our over-busy minds, just now, Father. Help us to be in Your time as You instruct us from Your word today.

Sanctuary us in Your grace and mercy that we may show Your grace and mercy to this troubled word, Father.

Tear us from the sinful temptations that are too close in this world in which we live, O God. Remake us in Your image, even today.

Infect us with the contagion of Your love, dear God, that in these difficult times, we would be known as Your children by our love.

Mingle us into this world, in these times, to bring us to the sinner, the lost and the confused, Father.

Explode the myths of our sins, Father, that we might see You working in us in this Your time, even now!

In the name of the one who created time itself, even Jesus Christ, we pray. Amen!

The Path Continues…

God’s Grace…

Randy Knepper-Moon-South Ponte Vedra Beach, FL.

photo: Randy Knepper

(an acrostic prayer)

Gracious and merciful heavenly Father, we bow in reverence and adoration at Your feet today to worship You, in spirit and in truth.

Order our lives just as You ordered Your creation in the beginning of time, by Your grace, Father.

Dark is our path at times, Father. Please refocus us and aim us once again in the direction of Your light that we may walk in Your light and not our own.

Sequence us in the proper order to do Your will as You provide the wherewithal to see and to do Your kingdom’s work here and wherever You take us.

Grace us once again with Your Spirit’s character of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control, O God.

Reactivate our faith, Father, that we would not live in fear and doubt, but in the shadow of Your love.

Accompany Your grace with the mercy of Your love, dear Father. We wilt without the mercy that You give in Your grace.

Calling out for forgiveness of our sins, we throw ourselves on Your feet and cry for mercy, O God!

Empty us of the fear of living, Father. May we once again find in You, life and the light for our living. May we seek to live in the light of your gracious grace, Father.

In the light of Your grace and mercy, Father, we pray, with thanksgiving. Amen!

The Path Continues…