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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “Luke”

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?

peace

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?

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. 

Alive or Dead?

When you think of God, do you think He is alive or dead?

But in the account of the bush, even Moses showed that the dead rise, for he calls the Lord ‘the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob.’  He is not the God of the dead, but of the living, for to Him all are alive.”  —Luke 20:37-38

Woman Reading Bible

Maybe it was because I recently completed a study on Moses that emphasized this reference within my spirit.  (See Book Review: Moses https://emergingfree.wordpress.com/2015/11/25/book-review-moses/ ) Examples of how God saved the Israelites, protected them, provided for them and prepared them flooded my thoughts.  I remembered how God gave Moses an understanding at an early age of the work before Him.  Prior to Moses’ arrival, God had a plan and purpose for Moses’ life.  As a young child, Moses’ training started.  It did not, however, require Moses’ initial awareness.  The training ground was set.  Why?  [Because] God is the God of the living! 

You see, God placed Moses in an environment to prepare him to lead His people to the Promised Land.  Knowing the road ahead, God knew that a certain level of maturity was needed; God knew that Moses needed to learn to be humble before Him.  Moses thought he was ready, but God knew He was not.  Why?  [Because] God is the God of the living!

During Moses’ 40 years in Midian, God did not forget about him.  To the contrary, Moses was still being prepared for his divine-assignment.  Can you relate to this?  He was still being made readywith God.  When the time was right, however, he was setwith God.  Although timid at first, Moses realized the time had arrived for him to go—knowingly, with GodWhy?  [Because] God is the God of the living!

So, “YES”, in the account of the burning bush, even Moses calls for the Lord—the God of the living.  The same God with Moses is the same God with me and youKnowing this gives me assurance to walk by faith, to be encouraged and to encourage, to be hopeful and share hope, to bless and be blessed, to be bold and humble, to love and be loved.  Knowing this gives me LIFE, and it should!  I serve the God of the LIVING!  I KNOW THIS!  Do you?

Woman Standing On Rock

[Sidenote: I am looking for a literary agent and speaking opportunities.  emergingfree@gmail.com ]

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?

Money, Money, and More Money?

Do you work for your money or does your money work for you?

So he called ten of his servants and gave them ten minas.  ‘Put this money to work,’ he said, ‘until I come back.’  —Luke19:13                                                                                                                      (*NOTE: A mina was about three months’ wages.)

Money is a tool, an interesting tool indeed.  People will sell their souls for it.  They will allow themselves to be mistreated for it.  People will mistreat others for it.

Possessing money could mean the difference between you eating at the table and you serving those who eat at the table, all the while your stomach growls.  Isn’t it ironic how people will despise a rich man, while simultaneously push you out of the way to shake his hand?  If I could only touch the hand that touches the money, then I can go back to serving the body that has the hand that touches the money.  Serving the body that has the hand that touches the money.  Serving the body that has the hand that touches the money. YES! Serving the Body that has the hand that touches the money.

money and woman

If I could only touch the hand, the garment, the heart—that touches, handles, has an effect on—the money, then I can go back to serving the Body, of which I am an extension, that has the Hand that touches, handles, has an effect on–the money.  Ah, through the process I would maintain focus on the Body and realize that money is not the controlling factor.  It is a tool, to be used to work.  It is to be multiplied, to create an overflow.  Service through the overflow…..now that’s what I’m talking about!

Stirring

Something is stirring…..

Consider the ravens: They do not sow or reap, they have no storeroom or barn; yet God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are than birds!  —Luke 12:24

Have you ever had a thought that lingers…and lingers….and lingers?  Out of the blue, it is pressed upon your spirit—first coming as a whisper then growing into a statement, increasing into a yell and settling as an authoritative instruction?  The more pronounced it becomes, the more certain you are of its manifestation.  Well, this is where I am.

Through a storm I came.

Strong,

Yet dazed.

I survived.

Rest,

I requested.

Refuge,

Granted.

Now the time has come to adhere to authoritative instruction.

beach bw

So now,

How much more valuable are you than birds?

God feeds them.  And how much more valuable you are!

I was reminded of this just the other day while sitting at the beach.  Out of nowhere came a woman, with bread.  Out of nowhere came birds, who ate.   “And how much more valuable you are than birds,” God reminded me.  “Do not worry,” God comforted me.  “I am with you,” God assured me.  Things will not be easy, but there will come things of ease.  Something is stirring.  Let’s do this.

Walk In Truth

One day, after a staff meeting a much older attorney said to me, “You are different.”  I looked at her, not knowing what to say.  She continued, “I noticed that if someone says something that is not funny to you, you don’t laugh.  Others will laugh and say later it was not funny, but you won’t laugh.”  She went on to say, “I wish I could be like that.”

As I walked to my office, I thought about her observation.  It is interesting how on the surface, people will appear to be on the side of the majority yet have internal conflict.  It is also interesting how someone can long to be like you yet target you as their enemy.  Don’t take it personally.  Don’t take it lightly either.

Women Sitting Across From Each Other

When Jesus left there, the Pharisees and the teachers of the law began to oppose him fiercely and to besiege him with questions, waiting to catch him in something he might say.  —Luke 11:53-54

Why is it that some people will love and hate you for walking in your truth?  Why is there a “campaign” to find a flaw in those who may be perceived as perfect, but who do not profess to be?  What is gained by opposing someone who does a good work to better a people, when doing a good work to better a people is the proclaimed goal?

Jealousy, envy, and insecurity will destroy relationships.  These things will cause one to miss (or have delayed) the very blessing sent to them.  In a world where everyone is in need of something, who wants to miss a blessing?  I don’t!

There was a time when I thought people were how they appeared.  Now, I know that people are who they are.  Some will laugh when they find no humor.  Others will not.  Some will wish you well as you leave their presence, and mean it.  Others will not mean it.  Some are consistent with walking and growing in their truth.  Others wrestle with the stagnancy of their lie.  To each, his or her own.  People are who they are.

As for me, the testament to first know, then to accept, and now to embrace the truth of which I am and to which I am of have come with an understanding that Truth is greater than the lie.  Its existence does not have to be defended.  Truth will propel me forward unto new experiences, abundant blessings, and restful sleep.  Truth increases discernment, wisdom, and inner peace.  It establishes trust.

No, it is not always easy to walk in Truth.  Some get nervous when you show up and odd things happen after you leave, but others are comforted.  Be clear about your journey.  Are you on a road less traveled?  Walk in Truth.

Quality Time

As there is birth, there is death daily.  Chances are, by now you have loss the physical interactions of loved ones to death.  When I was in college, I had a childhood friend who I thought to call but did not make the call because I knew that the next day I would be within her city limits.  Yes, this was before cellular plans that expanded the meaning of local calls.  Admittedly, I did not want the long distance bill.

The next day having reached her city, but still on the interstate, I thought again to call her.  I smiled, knowing that as soon as I got my luggage out of the car hers would be the first call I would make.  What I know now, but did not know then is I would never make the call.  She died the night before, near the same point on the interstate where I was reminded to call her.  Some things you never forget.

Rest

She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord’s feet listening to what he said.  But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made.  She came to him and asked, “Lord, don’t you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself?  Tell her to help me!”  —Luke 10:39-40

Over time, I have become conscious about being present when I am in the company of others.  I would not be surprised if some of my friends think I have more free time than my calendar would reflect because of how attentive I am with them.  Of course, this is easier for me when I have planned time to spend with people, but I try to be consistently like this even in unexpected meetings.

It is easy to be distracted by the busy-ness of life—by the tasks that need to be completed, the calls that need to be made, the emails/texts that need to be sent—that you lose sight of the importance of spending quality time with loved ones who are literally before you.  Do not take these people for granted, thinking that they will always be physically there.  As the saying goes, “Give me my flowers while I can smell them.”  At the same time, remember to , “Give flowers while they can still be smelled.”

There will always be things needing to be done.  Do not build attachment to things or an identity to tasks in exchange for losing relationship with people.  Some “good byes” are literal.

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?”

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