Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Humility & Laughter (Philippians 2, 2 Corinthians 12:9)

"Dragonflies aren't exactly tough guys,
yet they kill mosquitos"
© Karen Kyle Ericson, all rights reserved.
Philippians 2

At first, I heard the word, "Nor' easter" and thought, "Lord no please one is enough!  We already did this remember?"

I listened a bit more to the weather report and realized I got a few details wrong.  I thought, "Seven feet of snow," but then learned the water on the shore would rise seven feet.  We're above sea level.  The storm hit hardest up North.  In Maine houses have two front doors one on the bottom floor for summer and one on the top for winter. Yikes!  We're just fine though.  I got some exercise shoveling snow and made my husband scrambled eggs and pop-tarts. It's a good reminder to listen carefully to what people are saying and not jump to conclusions /blush.  Communication can be a real challenge!

When I was a little girl there used to be a television show called, "Hee Haw."  It was a fun show with country singers.  My grandparents always had it on. One of the songs that stuck with me all these years went like this:

"Oh Lord it's hard to be humble,
when you're perfect in every way.
I can't quit lookin' in the mirror 
I get better lookin' each day
to know me is to love me.
I must be a heck of a man.
Oh lord it's hard to be humble 
but I'm doin the best I can."

So when I think about humility this song makes me laugh at myself.  We take ourselves sooo seriously don't we?  It's so refreshing to meet people who laugh and enjoy their lives. We'd be much happier forgiving ourselves and others and moving on.  I love the following quote:

“From silly devotions and sour-faced saints, good Lord, deliver us.”  St. Teresa of Avila

Here's some things I learned leading groups in business and the Bible:
The Do's
get along with each other
try to understand what others say
ask questions
consider others more important
treat others like they're better
look out for other's interests
be like minded

The Don'ts
be selfish
force opinions
pretend to be better than others
show off
think about what you can say while someone is talking
ignore others and think about something else 

Rich Mullins, a musician who died in an airplane crash, had these words in one of his songs, "If I can make you laugh, I can make you like me."

I believe God gave us laughter to help us out in those awkward moments, and He's probably a fantastic laugher Himself.  We were created in His image after all.

1 Therefore if there is any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any affection and mercy, 2 fulfill my joy by being like- minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. 3 Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. 4 Let each of you look out not only for his own interests, but also for the interests of others.
I remember one of the women who tried to teach manners in America was asked what you should do if someone trips?  She replied, "Laugh and believe they don't do this all the time." 

Most of us trip sometimes.  I personally have lots of bruises to prove it lol!  I am clumsy at times.  Sometimes my words don't come out right either.

The Humbled and Exalted Christ
5 Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, 6 who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God, 7 but made Himself of no reputation, taking the form of a bondservant, and coming in the likeness of men. 8 And being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross.
After thinking about being humble, it makes me wonder how patient and tolerant Jesus must be.  He saw all that wasn't right in Jerusalem.  Yet He didn't get mad and destroy.  He did the opposite.  He allowed others to destroy Him so we could join Him in Heaven.  There are some stories about Jesus and the children in the Bible, not a lot of detail.  But I can imagine tickle fights and hide and seek.  Jesus probably loves listening to children giggle.  

Jesus Himself is the perfect example of humility.  He left Heaven and cared about prostitutes, thieves and tax collectors.  People most of us would avoid.  He spent time with Mary Magdalene who had mental illness and healed her.  So it seems when it comes to us we should do the same. 

9 Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, 10 that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, 11 and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.
In Jesus' humility God chose to exalt Him.  We will never be Jesus.  I would be a terrible savior.  Sometimes I forget to use the timer when I cook dinner...  Jesus is always right on time.  The verse below is one of my favorites.  God's strength  is made perfect when I'm not being so tough.  It's when I'm weak and trusting Him things go the very best.  In artwork, photography all things.  I still ask Him to show me where the good shots are on photo shoots.  Hope it's not cheating : )  It appears to me He loves to share His love and creation.
9 And He said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for My strength is made perfect in weakness."
(2 Corinthians 12:9 NKJV)
I love the title, "Light Bearers."  I think it would mean different things to people.  To me when we get too heavy and dark it's hard to forgive, and forget.  On the other hand a Light Bearer brings hope, joy, love and light to those in need.

Light Bearers
12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, not as in my presence only, but now much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; 13 for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.
I believe working out our salvation in fear and trembling is to remember Jesus' sacrifice. As I grow in Christ over the years I need to remember God is not to be manipulated.  It's not my behavior or desires that will change the world, it's His Holy Spirit within.  Being humble is not forgetting where we came from before Christ.  And speak to others from love and understanding not force or manipulation. Be humble and have compassion.

14 Do all things without complaining and disputing, 15 that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world, 16 holding fast the word of life, so that I may rejoice in the day of Christ that I have not run in vain or labored in vain.
Oh man I can't even complain?  Truly though people who serve in the Church have a heavy burden to carry.  There are so many troubles and temptations they hear about.  It would be hard.  I've done prayer ministries and it can be hard.  But when the Holy Spirit comes like a dove to heal someone in pain and you get to be near it's amazing!  We need to remember to encourage our Pastors and leaders.

At one time I was helping out the little kids in a Church Nursery.  There was this little boy who always seemed sad to me. I didn't know why.  He would stand next to me, with his face down and a blanket in his hand.  So I'd ask if he wanted to sit on my lap.  He'd nod.  Then he'd do some crayon pictures.  Every Sunday this would happen.  Then one day his Dad came up to me and with tears thanked me for taking care of his son.  He had lost his wife and the little boy missed her, somehow God used me to help him heal.  Ok now I gotta go wipe off the tears.

We never really know what others are going through do we?  

17 Yes, and if I am being poured out as a drink offering on the sacrifice and service of your faith, I am glad and rejoice with you all. 18 For the same reason you also be glad and rejoice with me.
Paul is saying he would be most honored if his work led to others knowing Jesus.  I second that.

19 But I trust in the Lord Jesus to send Timothy to you shortly, that I also may be encouraged when I know your state. 20 For I have no one like- minded, who will sincerely care for your state. 21 For all seek their own, not the things which are of Christ Jesus. 22 But you know his proven character, that as a son with his father he served with me in the gospel. 23 Therefore I hope to send him at once, as soon as I see how it goes with me. 24 But I trust in the Lord that I myself shall also come shortly.
The Apostle Paul put a lot of time into training Timothy.  Paul was taught by Gamaliel, the leading teacher in Jerusalem.  So Timothy got into a really great deal with Paul.  By his personal experience with Jesus on the road to Damascus, and also his training.  

25 Yet I considered it necessary to send to you Epaphroditus, my brother, fellow worker, and fellow soldier, but your messenger and the one who ministered to my need; 26 since he was longing for you all, and was distressed because you had heard that he was sick. 27 For indeed he was sick almost unto death; but God had mercy on him, and not only on him but on me also, lest I should have sorrow upon sorrow. 28 Therefore I sent him the more eagerly, that when you see him again you may rejoice, and I may be less sorrowful. 29 Receive him therefore in the Lord with all gladness, and hold such men in esteem; 30 because for the work of Christ he came close to death, not regarding his life, to supply what was lacking in your service toward me.
These verses remind me of missionaries overseas and others who serve the Lord.  I'm sure that some of them face many similar problems.  It's a good reminder to keep them in prayer.  I may be wrong but it almost sounds as though Paul is saying goodbye to his friend Epaphroditus for good.  That would be hard I'm sure.  He also tells them of a plan to send Timothy soon.
(Philippians 2:1-30 NKJV)

Dear Heavenly Father,
I pray for protection for those in the upper Northeast like Maine and Vermont.  Please protect them and surround them with warmth.  Thank You for the million times You've saved my day and my soul.  Help us to laugh and enjoy others and not be to serious.  Inspire us all for the work You have chosen for us individually.  Thank You Father for summer!

Our Father in heaven,
Reveal who you are.
10 Set the world right;
Do what's best––
  as above, so below.
11 Keep us alive with three square meals.
12 Keep us forgiven with you and forgiving others.
13 Keep us safe from ourselves and the Devil.
You're in charge!
You can do anything you want!
You're ablaze in beauty!
  Yes. Yes. Yes.
(Matthew 6:9-13 Message)

In Jesus' Name I pray,

Colton Dixon, All of me (link)


  1. Hi Karen...Yes, laughter is a wonderful attribute of God..And we give him much to laugh about too!
    Our posts today are in sync...Great minds and all that (lol)...
    Loved that song from Hee-Haw...I sing it sometimes when I feel like I'm getting too serious about myself.
    Joining you in prayer...Glad you did not get seven feet of snow lol!

  2. Oy! Me too it would go over the roof lol! True enough great minds think alike : D This was a fun post to work on for sure. Thanks so much for the encouragement!

    God bless!