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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “biblical reminder”

Are You A Well-Wisher?

Are you sick?  Really…are you?

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One who was there had been an invalid for thirty-eight years.  When Jesus saw him lying there and learned that he had been in this condition for a long time, he asked him, “Do you want to get well?”  —John 5:5-6

It is easy to admit when you are physically ill, isn’t it?  Feeling under the weather is a status society accepts and many times wishes of healing, prayers, and positive vibes quickly follow.  Taking medication, sipping tea, and getting plenty of rest are ready remedies to mend you to rejoin your peers in activities of life.  If only it were really THAT simple—are you sick?  Really…are you?  When was the last time you looked into your own eyes, into your own truth, to gauge your mental and spiritual well-being?  When was the last time you faced your fears and insecurities, your shortcomings and weaknesses, all of those things that hold you back from being the best YOU that you can be and asked yourself, “Do you want to get well?”  How long have you held yourself in bondage???  Seriously, do you want to get well?

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It seems like a lifetime ago now, but there was a time when I found myself totally exhausted.  Thankful I had not been in that condition for thirty-eight years, but I had been in it far too long.  The time had come for me to face my truth.  I stepped away from the distractions–from the parasitic noise I allowed to influence my life.  I surveyed my landscape, and was brutally honest about my condition.  Looking into my eyes I asked myself, “Do you want to get well?”  My answer would be life-changing.

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“YES,” my soul shouted!  Then, I cried… for two weeks.  Without my full comprehension, my cleansing had begun.  What I later realized was that with every tear I shed, a weight was being lifted.  I believe God was patiently waiting on me to get to the YES!  I needed to consciously want to get well.  THANK GOD I WANTED HEALING!

I could go on and on about the positive life-changes I have made which are a direct result of my decision to heal, and of the blessings these changes have brought.  It is all founded, however, on deepening my relationship with God and on trusting His promises.  I had compromised this focus before.  As a result, I became enervated.  Lesson learned!

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Are there things in your life, in yourself that you want healed?  Is it time for you to take a timeout—to get in a quiet place and have an honest conversation with God about your condition?  Do not sleep on YOU!  Do not sleep on HIM!  Do not get to the end of your life only to WAKE UP with a Should-a, Would-a, Could-a List.  Do you want better for your WHOLE life?  If so, do not become satisfied with simply being a get well-wisher!  God wants you healed!  Take action!  You have rested long enough!

 

Reduced Growth

Have you ever hit rock bottom?  Okay, okay…maybe not rock bottom, but have you ever felt like you had?

Rest

He must become greater; I must become less.  –John 3:30

Recently, I listened to this teaching https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Lea0aLUN5Y  given by Priscilla Shirer.  (Yes!  She is one of my favorite Bible Study teachers.)  This teaching reminded me of some of the lessons I received while reading Charles Swindoll’s book entitled, Great Lives: Moses: A Man Of Selfless Dedication (Great Lives Series).  Remember, I blogged about it:  Book Review: Moses

The idea of becoming less is what is on my mind.  Becoming lessYES!!–how painfully necessary such preparation demands; how awesomely miraculous such experience propels.  I understand it with greater clarity now….  I understand why I had to grasp reduced growth.  I needed to know, to really be conscious of, the importance of uninterrupted fellowship with God—not just singing gospel songs and saying prayers, not just attending church services and reading the Bible, not just doing a Bible Study and joining a ministry.  All of these things are independently great, but I needed to get it on the basic level of trusting Him to sustain me in every way, every picosecond of every day.  Okay, Okay….Has anyone else wrestled with trust issues, or am I the only one?  (LOL!  The struggle was real.)

girl pouting

Once I got it, however, I respectfully and humbly understood that God and I are not peers.  We are not equals, nor is He a little bigger or a little stronger.  God is greater.  I am less.  He is serious and I need to be too if I want what I say I want….all that He has promised me.

Woman Praying

Without hesitation, I could share with you example after example illustrating God’s continuous (meaning “never-ending”) attention to my survival.  If you have ever hit rock bottom, or felt like you had, you know the value of someone caring that you live.  Let’s face it, people regularly pass each other and avoid making eye contact.  Saying, “Hello,” isn’t even an afterthought.

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Yet, to know that even when you think you have nothing to give, nothing to barter; that even in that space and time that there is a God who still cares enough to ensure that you will eat, be housed, be clothed, be protected; that you will not only smile but you will laugh and laugh often; that you will breathe and breathe with ease because you had found rest within His greatness, all of your trust issues supernaturally fall by the wayside.  They become annoyingly heavy to carry.  You realize that in God’s peace, in His security, you do not have the weight of the world on your shoulders.  You never did.  What you called hitting rock bottom was your place of surrender.  I have been there.  It is a process necessary for rebuilding.

Blog Work

 

Don’t you just love His masterpieces!

 

Light Affects

This morning, I was reflecting on a number of things when this thought came to my consciousness, “When the light comes on, the crickets stop chirping.”

Then I read these timely verses:

“This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but men loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil.  Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that his deeds will be exposed.  But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what he has done has been done through God.” —John 3:19-21

Woman Standing On Rock

Good versus evil?  Light versus darkness?  Truth versus lies?  Have you ever taken a moment to really consider these forces—to give proper respect to what they are and how they are?  I have been thinking…

girl pouting

about how effective and powerful Christian fellowship would be if all who profess their love for Christ fought to love each other.  Sure, it sounds easy…to love your Sister, to love your Brother.  Love, however, is an action word.  In my Wendy Williams’ voice, “How you actin’?”

Woman Yelling At Woman

There is so much devastation living in dark places, perpetrating as solid Rock for building beautiful structures upon.  No one shouts about the heap of dead fruit being produced, yet armies boldly plot to destroy healthy blooms.  Is that where the confusion resides?  Do people get a pass because they profess the same faith?  Do we not know the tree from the fruit?  No one remembers the biblical lessons about Jesus’ anger regarding making His house a den of thieves?  (You know that’s real, right?)

Woman Praying

Oh but the presence of light….  Its illumination changes the atmosphere.  Its very power is undeniable.  UNDENIABLE and formidably respected by the doers of deeds in the dark.  UNDENIABLE and contagiously inspiring to those doing deeds through God.  So, shelve your fear and radiate.  Your presence has Light affects.

Great Leaders’ Eyes

People will cheer for you when you do what they want you to do, especially if what you are doing is trendy.  They have no loyalty to you, but to that thing they want.  Understand THAT.

Women Sitting Across From Each Other

Now while he was in Jerusalem at the Passover Feast, many people saw the miraculous signs he was doing and believed in his name.  But Jesus would not entrust himself to them, for he knew all men.  He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man.  —John 2:23-25

Frog

Recently I had the blessing to be placed in a situation that confirmed my spiritual growth.  Progress makes me happy!  My change in perception provided me with spiritual protection.  I was able to see the attacks thrown at me fall by the wayside.  If I did not respect the opposition, I would have laughed.  I do respect the opposition, however, so I stood firm and discerned.  Are you at that place—the place where people can cheer or disrespect you and you receive it in the same way?  It would be nice to think that I am there consistently, but my truth is that I am not (there yet).  I do see much maturity though.  Life continues to present opportunities which enable me to measure my development.  Noting, these experiences are important.

Rest

A few days ago, I complimented a man’s temperament.  I have watched him over a course of time sit calmly when disrespected and when complimented.  I do not know what he is experiencing internally, but his outward disposition never seems to change.  He is smooth and I appreciate his example of leadership.  He exemplifies traits all great leaders have.  He understands the purpose and importance of his role.  He is clear concerning his assigned mission and committed to its completion.  In addition, he discerns the operation of people.  Sounds easy right?  Of course it does, but it requires a lot of discipline.

girl pouting

Smiling, I see progress…but I still have work to do.

All in!

We’ve Met Before

Every now and again I meet someone who says something to me, about me, that captures my attention.  My spirit recognizes his or her identity immediately, yet oftentimes my head is puzzled.  What an interesting experience.  Has this ever happened to you?

YOU LOOK FAMILIAR……

Woman Looking in Mirror

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

When Jesus saw Nathanael approaching, he said of him, “Here is a true Israelite, in whom there is nothing false.”  “How do you know me?” Nathanael asked.  Jesus answered, “I saw you while you were still under the fig tree before Philip called you.”  Then Nathanael declared, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God; you are the King of Israel.”  Jesus said, “You believe because I told you I saw you under the fig tree.  You shall see greater things than that.”  He then asked, “I tell you the truth, you shall see heaven open, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”  —John 1:47-51 

Woman Reading Bible

I am taking these divine encounters more seriously nowadays.  In years prior, they were simply light and fun because they came with an instant sense of comfort.  Trust was automatic.  I knew the person saw ME and I, in turn, recognized the person as Family.  As I grew in faith, I began to understand that which bonded us was greater than coincidence.  I realized that these meetings were significant.  What was light and fun began to feel heavy and now meaningfulEverything works together….

“With age comes wisdom,” they say.  Now, I am more conscious of how rare these meetings occur.  Now, I am very sensitive about understanding the purpose of our encounters—acknowledging that everything is spiritual.  Truth is, the more I grow in my faith, the more I desire to connect with the people God wants me to connect with.  We shall see greater!  We will do greater…together…because we believe!  Yes, I have grown to cherish these experiences, these relationships, these people………. these whom I’ve met before.

 

 

Betrayal From A Known Place

Have you ever disowned someone you loved, someone only months before you would fight for?  I have.  I could write story after story about broken relationships—things you would relate to—but I will spare you those narratives.  There is another point-of interest that captures my attention, an area of prayer where I am growing.

Peter replied, “Man, I don’t know what you’re talking about!”  Just as he was speaking, the rooster crowed.  The Lord turned and looked straight at Peter.  Then Peter remembered the word the Lord had spoken to him: “Before the rooster crows today, you will disown me three times.”  And he went outside and wept bitterly.  —Luke 22:60-62

At the end of every year I review my relationships, particularly those with people I consider friends.  Several years ago, I discovered that I had developed a particular pattern with a “person”.  Each year, this “person” would change, but every year I would meet someone during the same part of the year.  We would be close from the jump as if we had known each other before, but by the year’s end we would not speak.  Isn’t that strange?  How could you be so close and within twelve months be so far apart?

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Once I realized that this happened year-after-year, I began to spot this “person”.  This awareness helped me in that at the end of the year I would note the situation causing the breakdown, but because I knew it would happen I was prepared for its occurrence.  The emotional sting I felt in preceding years was no longer there.  I simply moved on, never considering that that person would care enough to mourn.  Now, I am reconsidering my stance.  (Pray for me.)

Rest

The reality of life is, no one is perfect.  People will make mistakes straining relationships with even their closest loved ones.  I have made mistakes.  You have made mistakes.  We all have made them.  This understanding, however, leads me to my point of reconsideration.  Jesus knew Peter would betray Him and therefore prayed for him.

“Simon, Simon, Satan has asked to sift you as wheat.  But I have prayed for you, Simon, that your faith may not fail.  And when you have turned back, strengthen your brothers.” —Luke 22:31-32

Admittedly, there were many years when I identified this “person” and failed to pray over our relationships.  (Note, to pray for the “person” is different than praying over the “relationship”.  Both are necessary.)  This pains me really, but I thank God for growth.  I first had to learn to pay attention to divine relationships.  Then, I needed to understand how vital it is to constantly pray over them.  We have work to do!  In truth, nobody is happy about divine relationships being damaged but Satan.  Ah, but I have found the blessing in knowing betrayal from a known place so I will do better.  Will you?

Relationship Differences

Relationships, I never took them lightly;  Now, I am not sure if I can take them any more seriously.  Associations are the difference between life and death.  Who wants to LIVE?  I do!

Friends

Then Satan entered Judas, called Iscariot, one of the Twelve.  Luke 22:3

As a child, it was vital that I believed that my friends cared about my life.  As far as I was concerned, family –well– I was stuck with those people, so even if they got shady we would still be connected but friends –well– I could drop them and keep moving.  There would always be new friends to meet, right?  There are always people looking to laugh and have fun.  There are always people looking to connect.  Friends are just a hello away… or so I thought.

Without knowing it, I developed a hard-line habit of emotionally and (sometimes) physically detaching at the first hint of me questioning a friendship’s reliability.  Rarely would my friends question my change in behavior.  This lack of concern confirmed within me my right behavior.  Life went on.  The cycle continued.

Thank God for growth and grace!  As I began to understand me more, I began to understand what kinds of people I wanted to grow with.  As such, the more I understood my spiritual gifts and talents, the more I began to understand what kinds of people I needed to grow with.  I began to understand the difference and importance in having divine relationships versus those which are also great but are in fact spiritually secular.  (Note, sharing the same faith is not the lone criteria.)  I needed to find peace and clarity with knowing that there are numerous personalities and people who I can have fun and laugh with, spend time and play with, work and relax with, but divine relationships are appointed to build God’s kingdom and advance His purpose.  I needed to commit to live my faith with the people God assigns to sharpen me and I them for His purpose, one greater than us.  The more I stand in agreement with this, the more I find myself consciously and continuously praying for clarity and protection regarding these sacred relationships, as well as over myself.  Why?  Simply put, I believe.

Listen, we pray over people we do not know.  We pray over things that are transient.  We pray over solutions to problems and for cures to diseases and over prayer lists and over our churches and over our church Family, yet how many of us pray over our divine relationships?  How many of us know the differences between divine relationships and secular ones?  Note, there are differences.

Satan will try to enter anybody and anything following the Lord, even one of Jesus’ Twelve.  Make no mistake about it.  He will try to enter me and he will try to enter you.  Spiritual warfare is real.  We must do better with our journeymates.  A temporary distraction can lead to irreversible repair.

Bottom Line

Have you ever given out of your poverty?

As he looked up, Jesus saw the rich putting their gifts into the temple treasury.  He also saw a poor widow put in two very small copper coins.  “I tell you the truth,” he said, “this poor widow has put in more than all the others.  All these people gave their gifts out of their wealth; but she out of her poverty put in all she had to live on.” —Luke 21:1-4

I have pondered this.  Initially, I thought this entry would tell a story similar to this passage’s explicit scenario.  Nah.  That would be too easy, especially in this time when I am being pressed in a particular area.  Let’s reflect honestly.

Sometimes, financial giving is seemingly easier than the giving of your time and talents.  With so much hurt and pain in the world (in the nation, in your community, in your church), let us not continue to ignore the why in this.

  • Are you too “busy” to notice that your Brother or Sister (your neighbor) is depressed, suicidal, hungry…?  (Come here Elijah, Job, Jonah, and Jeremiah…I see you.)
  • Are you still feeling the sting from being rejected by the very people/person God continues to redirect you to minister?  (Long after the trend has faded, who continues to ask, “WWJD”?)
  • Have you stepped away from a difficult situation because your flesh said so, but His guidance is now saying, “Go back”?  (Moses, where are you?)

Hmmm…..I don’t think you are feeling the depth of these questions?  Have you ever been at the end of yourself, more than tired and exhausted, emotional spent, physically weak….just here, and barely that?  (Well, I can be a little dramatic at times but you get the picture right?  Anyway…)  It is at that point and place in one’s spiritual journey that I am signaling for recollection.  It was there, at that point of poverty, where I discovered, in a way unlike ever before, my bottom line.  I looked at the numbers—checked and double-checked the math, evaluated the equations, reviewed the formulas.  With great detail, I scrutinized.  I searched for answers, for comprehension.  Undeniably, I spiritually matured.

So, have you gotten to a point in life where you have consciously decided to truly become serious about growing in your faith?  Have you decided that if you have to live your faith all by yourself, you are all inAre you all in?

People do not always say it, but this faith walk is a continuous path.  There are so many things that could be shared, but are not.  Who knew a part of my journey would include discovering my bottom line?  It makes sense and was necessary, but who knew?  It was there that I prayed by faith for God’s blessings and protection of my life.  It was there where I began to have a deeper appreciation for the seriousness of ministry—of sharing my time, talents, and money.  How interesting?  It was there, where upon reflection, that I am able to see something that continues to amaze me.  Such awareness continues to press me.  In the midst of the delicate balance, between the breaths, the laughs, the tears, the ups, the downs…right there…in those moments…I still gave time, talent, and money.  Admittedly, in hindsight I can understand it better.  I can treasure and respect its symbolism.  Its lessons continue to empower me.  In my poverty, by faith, I gave.  Like the poor widow, in so many ways I put in all I had to live on.  I have an idea of what that feels like, and of what it means.  Do you?

Woman Praying

Once you know your bottom line, you understand what can be built upon it. 

Silent, Yes Truth

Truth will silence a crowd, won’t it!

Shh

They were unable to trap him in what he had said there in public.  And astonished by his answer, they became silent.  —Luke 20:26

Have you ever been in the midst of gossip and corrected a story?  Did everyone just kind of stare at you like you had spoiled the party?  Isn’t it funny how fast truth can change the topic of conversation?

Truth can be a funny fact.  People are quick to say they want it, but many are made uneasy when faced with it.  Why?  Should Truth not bring comfort?  Should it not bring clarity and knowledge?  Of course!  Truth is the objective Light to lie’s darkness.  Sadly, however, so many have grown accustomed to working in darkness that when Light shines they become apathetic.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Re72di5phM0

Have you asked yourself, “What is my truth?  What do I really believe and why?”  Are you open to the possibility that your truth may not be the Truth?  Are you committed to the process for discovering the Truth then having it live within you?  Do you want to give more than lip service to your beliefs?  Do you want your words and actions to unify?  Is this reflection of yourself important to you?

This is what I know:  Truth is Truth not matter if the majority believes in it or not.  People will try to trap Truth.  They will try to diminish, devalue, discredit, and destroy it.  If Truth is what you seek, then be prepared to grow strong.  YES, you will be tested.  Your journey will not always be easy, but if Truth is what you seek it will be worth it.  The respect it demands by its very presence will unnerve foundations not secure.  It walks in Light and Love, capturing both wanted and unwanted attention.  So YES, Truth will silence a crowd, but note: Silence is needed so more people can hear.

How Do You Identify?

So, I needed to learn a painful lesson about a population within those professing Christianity.  I was naïve and unsuspecting, so the sting of the teaching provoked my soul to weep.  Dazed and confused, it took a committed period of time which I devoted to prayer, listened to my Father’s instruction, and surrendered to a building of thicker skin around a softer heart.  Have you ever been disappointed by the intentional acts of fellow Christians?  How did you react?  Have you healed?

Rest

“Then the owner of the vineyard said, ‘What shall I do?  I will send my son, whom I love; perhaps they will respect him.’  “But when the tenants saw him, they talked the matter over. ‘This is the heir,’ they said.  ‘Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’  So they threw him out of the vineyard and killed him….  —Luke 20:13-15

I remember earlier this year, I attended a meeting.  I knew I could not stay for its entirety, but I wanted to obtain some information about the organization to determine if I would join or not.  I quietly sat in the back of the room as to not cause a distraction upon my exit.  The next day, I received a call from the organization’s President (whom I did not know prior).  In our conversation she said, very matter-of-factually, “No, you can’t slip in and out of places.  No matter how quiet you think you are, people know you and your presence means something.”  Really?

Although I have not joined that organization, the words of its President have stuck with me.  Truth is, even dim light shines.  One’s eye is naturally and supernaturally drawn to Light, no matter the intensity.  Light radiates without exception.  This, I needed to be one with.

If you are like me, you only want to be where God wants you.  Sometimes I am sent to comfortable surroundings; Other times the environments feel undeniably unpleasant.  As long as I believe I am where God wants me, however, I am assured.  In each of these environments, oftentimes I discover that I am not the only one with beliefs founded in Christ.  Interestingly, there was a time when I would make assumptions of kinship if I was aware that another Brother or Sister was present.  I have since learned that such expectations are not always mutual.

Frog

Jealousy is a powerful emotion, one consumed by some who profess Christianity.  I am not sure how often this is addressed, but a silence on the subject is devastating.  People will submit (at least in practice) to being under a Greater Authority.  They will agree that they and you are under the same Authority.  They will discern that you are working in accordance to that Authority.  Then, they will plot ways to put out your Light, i.e. to kill you (spiritually).  Their jealousy has been stirred.  You become their target, their threat because you have been sent and are working according to His will and way.  Yes, YOU!  Their Brother.  Their Sister.  Sadly, they do not  identify with you as Family.  A shared faith seems to mean nothing.  Agape love, what’s that?  Sheep or wolf?  Remember this, the enemy seeks to kill, steal, and destroy.  How do you identify?

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