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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “love”

Love In Action

What is your motivation when you help another, when you do a good thing, when you serve?

duck-looking-around

In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha (which, when translated, is Dorcas), who was always doing good and helping the poor.  Acts 9:36

On the surface, who does not want to always do good and help the poor?  I mean, it sounds like the correct thing to think and say right?  To say otherwise seems too pompous, too raw, too real.  Let’s face it—we are too polite for that, aren’t we?

Kevin Hart It's About To Go Down

As a result, people say what you want to hear and do what they want to do without considering that the two never meet.  Yes, even those who profess Christianity are susceptible to this.

faith

There are, however, those who have spiritual gifts of kindness.  They are not simply doing good works and helping those in need because they are nice people.  They are not doing it for self-gain.  They do it because they have been divinely created to minister in this way.  Have you ever taken a moment to meditate on the power of such awareness?  These people are truly special.  Their impact is inspiring.

woman-helping

I am challenging myself to become more aware of these people in my life.  I know that I need to identify and appreciate them while they are alive.  The examples, lessons, and insights they illustrate through the alignment of their words and actions are treasures.  The positive impact that they have on individuals and communities is far-stretching.  They represent so much love in a world where hate makes common headlines.  We need to see love in action.  I need to see more of this.  Don’t you?

Rest

Merry Christmas….

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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.

Book Review: Intuition

About a week before Thanksgiving I got an intense urge to read three books.  I quickly decided on two of them.  The third, however, I only had an idea of the subject matter.  (That book, BTW, turned out to be the one by Shondra Rhimes.  See this post:  https://emergingfree.wordpress.com/2015/11/30/book-review-yes/)

Intuitive Self-Healing by Marie Manuchehri was the second book I decided to buy.  (See: http://www.amazon.com/Intuitive-Self-Healing-Achieve-Balance-Wellness/dp/1604076275 )  It, however, ended up being my third read.  Thanks to India Arie, I knew it included exercises.  I wanted to really take my time with it, so I saved it to read last.

Outside of knowing Manuchehri’s book would focus on intuition, I began it without any additional expectations—just with an openness to consider its presentation.  I found myself being introduced to chakras and how these  energy sources are connected to life’s manifestations.  The silliness I felt doing the first exercise quickly evaporated with the turn of each page.  In them, I found confirmation and clarity regarding things I already knew.  I also discovered things that had already resulted in lightness, smiles, and the embracement of both identifying and accepting love.

Aside from many of the exercises, there are two main things I will employ from this book.  The first is to be present!  I spend a lot of time problem-solving and using analytical skills because: of my profession, my spiritual gifts and talents, and my future hopes.  I have an active mind.  Yes, I think a lot.  People tell me this to which I always think, “Don’t you?  How can you not?”  I laugh now because those conversations normally stop with my questions.  I would walk away not understanding the point of the observation.  Can you relate to this?

Now, I know that it is necessary for me to be in the moment—to feel the clothes on my back, the emotions that I have, the socks on my feet, the water when I am washing dishes, etc..  It is easy to take these things for granted, especially if you are a person with a great ability to be empathetic.  I cannot afford to negate this part of my life anymore.  Can you?

Secondly, I must SPEAK self-love mantras to myself often and daily.  I would think these things, but what I have found is that I MUST SPEAK THEM!  There is a powerful energy in the SPOKEN WORD.  Try it!  Feel how your body reacts when you look yourself in the mirror and speak to you about you in a loving and caring way.  Go ahead.  No one is watching but you!

I really enjoyed this book.  It is a short, easy read.  The exercises were a great supplement.  Upon reflection, I am a better, stronger person with a greater awareness for living a joyful life.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

I’m glad I listened to the nudging to read three books.  God is amazing!  He gives me what I need when I need it.  He reassures me that He is with me.  He guides me along this journey.  I am truly thankful!

Commentary On The Land Of The Free, Home Of The Brave

Am I the only one disturbed about the female, (societally-labeled) Black student being yanked —-wait, no…that is too mild of a description—ripped from a desk while seated, body-slammed, dragged, and….well, was she tossed by a much bigger, stronger, male School Resource Officer who appears to be (societally labeled) “white”?  For some reason, I mistakenly thought that this would be a hot topic today.  Maybe it was….somewhere?  This is heartbreaking; This is real news.  Oh well, maybe tomorrow this storyline will broadcast more.

Forgive me if Lamar and Khloe’s marriage is not of interest to me.  I am sorry not sorry that political talking points bore me when those talking points do not ever seem to point to the injustices within The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave if such points offer no dividends, fail brown paper bag tests, and struggle to value its women and girls.

In a classroom full of people, just one reportedly attempted to come to the helpless student’s defense.  That one is said to have been another female, (societally labeled) Black student.  I am not surprised by this.  Consciously or subconsciously, she identified with the victim.  Now I ask you, “Why are we, humans, failing to identify with each other?”  Generation after generation, beliefs go unchallenged which keep people divided.  At the end of life, how silly these things must seem when real matters find priority.

As I sit here, I wonder if I am the only one asking myself, “What kind of culture are we living in where people are conditioned to just sit and watch atrocities occur without so much as a consideration?”  Have we become desensitized as a people, of people?  Then, I think of history.  We can send people to the moon, but seem to struggle with tolerating respecting accepting loving one another.  Millions of people attend faith-based services weekly where love is the taught foundation, yet their acts of love are…….well, where are they?  I want to hear more of those stories.  I want to smile while watching the ripple effects of small acts of kindness.  Am I alone?

Several times, I have watched the video of this excessive force against this young, female student who happens to be (societally labeled) Black.  With each viewing, thoughts surface about the ill-treatment of people based on race, on gender, on ageism, on power, or the lack thereof…..  These thoughts surface, but the perpetuated silence on these topics will hold their posts in keeping The Land of the Free, The Home of the Brave paradoxical.

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Neighbors

Who remembers Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood?  I loved watching this show as a child and still remember that its theme song ends with a simple question, “Won’t You Be My Neighbor”.  (For those who are not familiar with this, here is the song:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vtc7A67kZlQ )

Friends

At the beginning of every show, Mr. Rogers would ask me (the viewer) if I would be his neighbor?  Have you ever thought about who are your neighbors?  Do you limit your neighbors to those who reside in homes you see surrounding your house?  There was a time when I did.  Now, I have a much broader definition.

He answered:  “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'”  “You have answered correctly,” Jesus replied.  “Do this and you will live.”  But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”  —Luke 10:27-29

Do you think Christians see each other as neighbors?  (YES, I know the cited verses come out of the Parable of The Good Samaritan.  My thoughts, however, are in regards to the Christian community.) 

As I ponder this, I wonder how the world would be if Christians actively and proactively confirmed that we are neighbors.  Would this awareness spill over to being less judgmental about our religious differences, our socially constructed racial differences, our socio-economic differences, our political differences, and so on and so forth?  I often think about, how is it possible that people professing Christianity can have so much disdain for another person, for another Christian in particular, because of differences in politics, or because of differences in complexion, or because of differences in sin.  I think about how various denominations and sects amongst The Church have people more loyal to a church’s bylaws than to The Father, to The Son, and to The Holy Spirit.  I contemplate how we have become so desensitized by the terminology of Brother and Sister that we have loss the concept of Family.

Upon introspection, I challenge myself to be more conscious of the people I pass and of the ones I engage.  I would like to think that if I saw someone in need I would stop to help, but I know this is not always my truth.  As I mature, I understand that everyone I pass has a need.  Some have needs I can see, while others have needs I cannot see.  Yes, everyone has a need.  I am no exception.  Yet, I am to love my neighbor as I love myself.  Ahhh, and that is where the balance lives.  The central question is, “How do I love myself?”  How do you love yourself?

God is great isn’t He!  A few years ago I took a considerable amount of time to discover for myself how I loved myself.  By doing so, I realized that I was not loving me continuously, consistently, or enough.  How tragic, right?  Once I made some life-altering changes, gone were the emotional attachments that tired me as a result of my good and merciful deeds.  Long gone they are.

My neighbors are people who I know and those I do not know.  Although I am not as bold as Mr. Rogers, I have grown to a point that when I show up in a place, I do with the same inquiry, “Won’t you be my neighbor?”

Kingdom Business

Does anyone besides me go through seasons when attending church services on a regular basis seem difficult, to say it nicely?  If you have not guessed, I am constantly surrounded by numerous faith-believing people, mostly Christian but not all.  We have conversations about numerous topics, but I have yet to have a serious discussion about my struggles regarding attending church services on a regular basis.  Let’s face it.  The faith community can, at times, present their views in ways that come across as extremely judgmental.  To someone who studies the Word, these sessions can easily turn into back and forth scripture quoting showdowns.  In doing so, we illustrate that we can recite biblical verses but this does not always leave a person motivated to face and deal with a very real issue.

Maybe you can relate to me?  I love spending time reading, studying, mediating on, talking about, being bathe in God’s Word.  Still, I have learned that I cannot talk about His Word with every faith-based person.  (I may blog more about that at a later time.)  Because I enjoy this and because I understand the importance of developing a personal relationship with God, I can very easily find a solitary place for this purpose.  Because I have a great deal of faith-based friends who are concerned about my spiritual well-being, as I am about theirs, I fellowship regularly (if not daily).  I donate (time, talents, and/or financially) to causes that promote His Kingdom, either directly or indirectly.  I listen to faith-based music and teachings via multiple vehicles.  Still, at this time I find myself believing that God wants me to attend church regularly.

“But why,” I have been asking.

Rest

At daybreak Jesus went out to a solitary place.  The people were looking for him and when they came to where he was, they tried to keep him from leaving them.  But he said, “I must preach the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.”  And he kept on preaching in the synagogues of Judea.  —Luke 4:42-44

Do you know why you were created?  Really, do you know your purpose?  I needed to get unapologetically serious about mine.  Why?  Because people watch.  (They want to hear and see good news.)

Contrary to the multi-billion dollar industry that continues to become richer by instilling fear, people really want Love.  Via Love, there lives Truth.  Via Truth, there lives trust.  People want to trust, but many do not think they can trust so they watch.  They watch for the lie.

Isn’t it interesting how babies—toddlers—trust you until you show them that you lie?  How disturbing to one’s soul that must be?  And THIS is why, during this season, I must push through my struggles and attend church services regularly.

It is now, at this time, that I understand the importance of finding a balance between finding solitude and going out amongst the people, even in faith-based places.  There is work to be done both in and outside of the sanctuary.  May my life preach the good news.   After all, this is Kingdom Business.

One Step, Two Steps Forward and Back

Shootings……in churches………

One step forward?  Two steps back.

Hatred……of what?????

…..a difference in skin color……..a variation in culture…….a deviation in faith…..WHAT is it that has morphed the innocence of a baby’s soul into the walking dead?

Is it fear of a loss of a perceived privilege?  Can you not look at a stranger and see commonality?  Or maybe you can, but pride stops you from admitting to yourself your hatred of yourself.

Granted, love seems to escape many.

SLOW DOWN.

Why does LOVE escape you?  Do you not trust it?  Have you not felt it?  Can you not conceptualize it?

Faith.  God.  Fellowship.

What do you serve

Self.  Money.  Prestige.

SLOW DOWN.

One step forward.

Two steps back?

Breathe.

Inhale.

Exhale.

Pray.

Woman Praying

Where Have You Been?

Have you noticed that people will ask you, “Where have you been,” before asking you, “How are you doing”?  What an interesting question.  Still, I wonder what it really means.  Clearly there is an expectation that you were supposed to be somewhere and was not.  Where is this place which prompts more concern regarding one’s whereabouts than of a person’s wellbeing?

Then, because so many people were coming and going that they did not even have a chance to eat, he said to them, “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and get some rest.”

So they went away by themselves in a boat to a solitary place.  (Mark 6:31-32)

Rest

About a year ago, I consciously learned a hard lesson about the importance of making time to rest.  A few years ago, I was exhausted.  Physically I was tired.  Emotionally I was drained.  Spiritually I was fatigued.  Even still, I discovered that people continued to expect me to be certain places and do certain things.  It felt like if I could breathe, they wanted the breath.  Can anyone relate to this?  For my survival, I knew that I needed to take a break.  I needed to rest which I did out of necessity.

Fortunately for me, during my time of rest I was surrounded by a wealth of love.  (Make sure you have people in your life who love you.)  I was able to re-establish balance, revisit things that makes me happy, sharpen my focus and strengthen my self.  For me, studying my Bible and numerous biblical principles—deepening my awareness of what I believe for me—laid the foundation for these things and more.

There have been times when I would shake my head at the fact that I had to get to a point of being worn down in order to make resting a priority.  Thankfully I have learned my lesson, however.  As a result, I am able to see the blessings that come along with getting and maintaining proper rest—not just for myself, but for others.

It is alright to say, “No,” to invitations.  Enjoy the ones you say, “Yes,” to though.

Drawing boundaries is a must.  If you do not, the boundaries will draw upon you.

Finding a safe, quiet place to rest so that you will not become so overwhelmed by the expectations, chaos, and chatter of the world surrounding you, to the point that you can no longer hear from God is vital to your spiritual growth.  Rest will point out to you that the asking of, “Where have you been,” has little to do with you.  Rest will keep you humble.  It will remind you from where your strength comes.  It will elicit truth when asked, “How are you doing”.

Where Is The Love?

I have found that there is an expectation that Christians know what love means, but what if you encounter one who does not?  Without reciting to me 1 Corinthians 13, do you really know what it means to love and to be loved?  Is your life a constant reflection of this biblical chapter, even to the invisible audience who watch your ways?

Because of the increase of wickedness, the love of most will grow cold, but he who stands firm to the end will be saved.  —Matthew 24:12-13

Sometimes I wonder if Christians would simply love the way we say Jesus loves us (yes we know, because the Bible tells us so), how the world would be a better place.  Then one day, I understood that not all who profess Christianity have fully accepted that Jesus loves them.  Not all who profess Christianity believe they are lovable.  This disbelief multiplies itself when people who they can see, particularly other Christians, confirm their skepticism through their hurtful words and actions, both explicitly and implicitly.

If you trust love, you can love.  You can guard your heart, possess keen discernment, project a firm foundational stance while operating in a loving posture at all times.  This does not always mean going along to get along.  It does not mean sitting on the sidelines while injustices occur.  It does not mean dimming your light so others can shine.  It does mean, however, embracing and exemplifying that of 1 Corinthians 13 which you routinely recite.

We are designed to stick out.  Just because we see evilness and wickedness in the world does not mean that we have to be conquered by it.  When people ask, “Where is the love,” someone should think of you and you should be a reflection on Him.  It all should lead back to God, the Alpha and the Omega.  Love, well it is found on the Rock.

Woman Standing On Rock

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