emergingfree

Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “Matthew”

Who Do You Say I Am?

Today I did something sooooooo incredibly awesome as a result of accepting an invitation to be a Guest Messenger at a church.  Listen to the message I delivered earlier today.  No worries—it’s less than 18 minutes. (LOL!)  I hope it is a blessing to you!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8YKJDy3sae4&feature=youtu.be

Talent Wasted?

Have you ever experienced a time when it felt like you were down to nothing?  Maybe you were counting your change because your dollars had run out.  Maybe that relationship you thought would last forever had a deadline and you were left with your tears and wounds from what could have been.  Maybe you took a professional risk which left you holding the liability.  It is times like this when you may be motivated to reflect the most.  There you are.  So, what now?

Woman Praying

“His master replied, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant!  You have been faithful with a few things; I will put you in charge of many things.  Come and share your master’s happiness!’  —Matthew 25:21

Lately I have been thinking about the lazy servant who, because of his fear and self-centeredness, did not multiply his talent.  I do not want to be like that.  I want all of God’s blessings for my life!  Don’t you?

Now, you know like I do that some days feel harder than others.  Likewise, some hard days feel harder than other hard days.  Then, there are those times —although such seasons may be rare— when it may feel like you are down to nothing.  I have felt that way.  It creates the perfect environment for self-doubt to take residence in your thoughts.  If not careful, it will become a long-term inhabitant.  Fortunately in my case, I was not looking for such tenant.  The idea of living in fear versus the notion of wanting to be a blessing to others and to receive all of the blessings God has for me are not one in the same.  I became clear about that quickly.  (Thank God!)  In doing so, I was able to enjoy faith’s oxygen.  I was able to think clearly as well as appreciate the complexity and simplicity of my unique make-up.  My soul was able to rest assured, knowing that many things would come if I remain faithful to the few.  I just needed to continue to be faithful to the few, and do so with the wisdom and peace that only God’s grace provides.  I just needed to follow God’s instruction for my life, no matter how it may look or feel.  I just needed to remember God’s work, past and present.

My Christian family, don’t you want to hear God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”?  Are you conscious of this desire?  Are you investing wisely the time, talents, and other resources that He is giving to you?  Are you doing what God has called you to do?

Listen, I am still learning.  I am still growing.  I am still making mistakes and falling short, but this I know and accept with certainty: I am the holder of talent.  It is in accordance to my ability.  It is to be multiplied.  It will continue to be. 

Remember, that lazy servant was conquered by fear.  He did not put his talent to work.  Don’t be like that.  Talent wasted.

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

No Need To Offend

At times it is best to comply with the ways of the land in which we live, even when we disagree with its customary routine.  (For some, paying taxes is an example that comes to mind.)

But so that we may not offend them, go to the lake and throw out your line.  Take the first fish you catch, open its mouth and you will find a four-drachma coin.  Take it and give it to them for my tax and yours.”  —Matthew 17:27

Recently, I reflected on how in certain situations it is important to not offend another and how such practice seems to hold no value to so many today.  Admittedly, there was a time when I would give my opinion just because I could.  As I became clearer about my purpose and about achieving my goals, sharing my thoughts on everything—especially with people who would never agree with me—became exhausting.  Truth is, I have things to do.

Over time, I discovered that the energy I was using talking about a multitude of issues was more beneficially spent when it was directed at doing something that reflected my faith-based beliefs.  It can be in the doing, even when doing something solely not to offend another, where we can receive yet another illustration of how what we have comes from God’s supply.  At times, it is in the doing where we will see that our blessing awaits us if we are active participants in the process to obtain it.  In addition, it is in the doing to not offend another where we can find hope that God’s bigger plan will manifest for our individual lives and for His greater kingdom business.

Although we cannot control whether our words or actions will offend another in every situation and noting that sometimes the very action of living our beliefs may be offensive to another, there are times when it is best not to knowingly offend another.  Be discerning.  Be obedient to your spiritual nudge.  Be blessed.  After all you never know, it may be in your non-offense where someone will see the God you say you serve.

Woman Reading Bible

Got Faith?

I have decided to be more conscious about my faith.  As a result, I am discovering that I am doing more things when my initial reaction is to say, “No”.  Every single time, I walk away from these experiences with at least one blessing.  Without exception, I reflect while smiling and say, “Look at God.”

Face

“…. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there’ and it will move.  Nothing will be impossible for you.”  —Matthew 17:20

Recently I heard a Project Leader speaking about a societal problem.  I found it interesting when he said, “I don’t believe we will solve this problem in my lifetime.”  Maybe we won’t, but his statement alone suggested to me the possibility that he should not be leading.  Lack of belief often times result in a lack of passion.  A person of passion is a person of conscious purpose.  A person of conscious purpose will work for resolution when one who lacks belief will not.

How many people are following people who truly do not believe that which they profess?  It could be in the areas of faith, love, profession, and/or as it pertains to social issues.  Being led by those who lack faith can be contagious and in fact a waste of our precious time.

As I work on growing conscious in my faith, my ears are sensitive to those who speak words that demonstrate a lack in theirs especially from positions of leadership.  I am a visionary.  Hence, I know that it is not in my best interest to congregate with a bunch of people who are not committed to having a strong belief in the manifestation of that which the natural eye does not yet see.  As a Christian, such association could be dangerous.  We may forget that our God routinely does the impossible.  Nothing is too big—or too small—for Him, if we believe.

It is easy to be misled when you do not know yourself and when you are unsure about that which you serve.  Many Christians struggle accepting that God has great things for them because they do not feel worthy and they do not believe He is the great I AM.  Many Christians say that we have faith, but never step outside of that which is comfortable.  Thank God mountains can be moved with mustard seed sized faith.

You know, there are SUPER talented Christians afraid to let their light shine brightly.  Far too many are walking around with dim light, if the bulb is working at all.  As I grow more conscious in my faith, I find it hard not to share God’s favor upon me especially when I have ventured into uncomfortable territory.  Know that there are times when you will receive your biggest blessings by believing in those things that others have in fact given up.  Know that your belief will motivate you to pursue things that others may doubt.  Know that even naysayers watch, but they too will respect His work.

Got faith?  Share your blessings.  Share how you have witnessed God’s movement of mountains.  Spread the Good News.  If he did it for you, He can do it for someone else.  Bless someone with that knowledge.

Inside Out

Not long ago, a friend told me he admires my diplomacy in speech.  Apparently, he had noticed how I handled a number of situations over a period of time and was impressed.  His compliment was not surprising, however, his observation was unanticipated.  You never know who is watching.  Although not mentioned often, there is an important connection between our words and their connection to our hearts.

“Don’t you see that whatever enters the mouth goes into the stomach and then out of the body?  But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these make a man ‘unclean.’  For out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander.  These are what make a man ‘unclean’; but eating with unwashed hands does not make him ‘unclean.'”  —Matthew 15:16-20

It is easy to appear clean in a world that seems fascinated by materialism and superficial things.  Bathe the body, put on clean clothes, wear a neat hairstyle, drive a nice car, and don’t forget to smile.  This simple formula will win you a few friends.  If you are charismatic and approachable, you will win a few more.  People will want to be in your presence.

Both near and from afar, people will watch you and they will search, for flaws.  They may or may not tell you what they see, but many will see you for who you really are inside out.  Discerning Christians will know if your inside matches your outward presentation.  Do not be so mesmerized by a person’s outward appearance that you neglect to listen to their words, that you fail to hear their heart, that you neglect knowing them inside out.  Not everyone is entertained by unclean hearts.

Woman Reading Bible

Hometown Experience

What do you do when people have a love-hate relationship with your spiritual gifts and talents?  “How dare you operate in your divine essence,” is what their rejection is actually stating.  Can you handle their repudiation and still be great, or are you going to allow naysayers to define your worth and in turn wither like a dried flower?  To my surprise, this predicament is more common than I first realized.

Coming to his hometown, he began teaching the people in their synagogue, and they were amazed.  “Where did this man get this wisdom and these powers?” they asked.  “Isn’t this the carpenter’s son?  Isn’t his mother’s name Mary, and aren’t his brothers James, Joseph, Simon, and Judas?  Aren’t all his sisters with us?  Where then did this man get all these things?”  And they took offense at him.

But Jesus said to them, “Only in his hometown and in his own house is a prophet without honor.” 

And he did not do many miracles there because of their lack of faith.  —-Matthew 13:54-58

A couple of weeks ago I met a fellow Christian woman who is pursuing avenues to introduce to the world her artistic talent.  We had a very candid conversation about how she has noticed that she receives significantly more love and support for her work from people in cities, not her hometown.  Isn’t that interesting?  Not really!  Such behavior dates back to biblical times.

You know, God has a way of orchestrating a meeting amongst His children to meet a need.  My newfound friend spoke in truth, not in bitterness.  It was refreshing to hear her honest feelings about this and how she has grown to handle it with grace and humility, as I have too struggled with understanding this very thing.  You see, what many people fail to grasp is that when we (specifically, Christians) are operating in our spiritual gifts and using our talents as a service to people, we are doing so by faith.  The sacrifices we make are by faith.  The decisions we make are by faith.  The discipline we exhibit is by faith.  Things you can see and those things you do not see are all connected by faith.  We know that, but those who lack faith discourage. As a result, such continues the self-fulfilling prophecy and mentality that nothing good can ever come from a place such as this.

Woman Praying

That day, my friend and I departed not knowing when or if we would see each other again.  God, in his beautiful style of communicating with me, placed us again in the same place at the same time.  This time, however, I was able to see her work with about two hundred other hometown people.  They were impressed and gave her a standing ovation.

Knowing what I know, she is prepared to offer her hometown more of her gifts and talents.  There may continue to be missed opportunities, not because of her desire but because of the rejection of gatekeepers who refuse to allow her in.  By faith she is not afraid to step into unknown environments to share what God has given her.  By faith she will continue to be blessed.

Don’t let the heartbreak of your neighbor’s envy or their lack of faith deter you from being a blessing to others.  We are spiritually gifted and talented to share these things with and to serve others.  Don’t consent with those who devalue your gifts and talents.  Know your worth.  If the audience before which you stand cannot see your value, or do not want to accept that you are valuable, don’t be bothered.  Someone’s trash is another person’s treasure.  Know that you are treasured.

The Question

Lately, a question seems to be following me.  At first it came by way of a couple of friends via “friendly” conversation.  Then, it presented itself through people who I had not developed a close relationship with, but who see my potential.  Next, the question arrived through other friends, but these friends were not shy about the importance of the topic.

After a while, I began to wonder if this question was one God wanted me to reconsider at this time.  Why else would various people—people who do not know each other, some of which I had not seen in years, some of which I have no real association with, some I love to pieces and I know love me—all feel the need to bring this concern to my attention?  Everything has its season.  Could it be that there is special significance for me to ponder this now?

Yesterday, an older woman saw me at an event.  She looked familiar, but I do not know her name.  After confirming my identity she sincerely asked, “So, are you doing anything anymore in ‘the community’?”  My initial reaction of laughter was met by her stone, yet soft face.  She was serious.  There it was again, the question.

I am sending you out like sheep among wolves.  Therefore be as shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.  —Matthew 10:16

By now, I had begun thinking diligently about my answer.  In doing so, I had reviewed lessons I learned from giving to the community in times past.  There have been many lessons.

Woman Praying

When you have a real heart for people, there are sacrifices you experience that can be damaging if you are not sagacious.  You can lose your balance in the whirlwinds of this broken world and become just like the very thing you at first set out to fight against.  You can become bitter and wounded, untrustworthy and untrusting, conniving and ego-driven…and no one will actually care because this is how you are expected to be.  You are expected to be devious.  After all, what good (wo)man innocently does good works?  As we build our #Empire, aren’t we all #Scandalous?  If we try to be anything different, we are then perceived to be foreign and unrecognizable.  Unfortunately, even many of our Brothers and Sisters in Christ seem delayed in seeing us as Family and our good works as believable.

During my plea to God for understanding, I received a message which clarified within me the importance of my particular involvement in matters of community concern.  That was a huge primary step for me.  I am thankful that God has given me options.  I am grateful He has given me time to refocus and regain centeredness.  His emphasis on wanting me to contemplate this question was evident by the number of vessels He sent to me.  As I continue to pray for God’s protection and guidance, I do so with greater denotation for maintaining a balance between wisdom and vulnerability to accomplish His work.  I do so fully aware that I am not the Savior.  I am simply a Christian woman trying to live in accordance with my beliefs and do the work God has assigned me.  Some of us have jobs in the sanctuary.  Others of us have jobs in the world.  What about you?

Prayer List

I love the authenticity my Christian friends and I share.  I love the fact that we can celebrate the joys of life with pure hearts.  I love that we encourage each other through difficult times.  I love how we challenge each other to be our best selves and how in our weaker moments we provide one another with emotional safe havens.  In truth, there are many things I love about these relationships but most of all I love our commitment to live consistently with what we profess to be our faith.  I love this because we understand the importance of having a personal relationship with Christ, which in turn sets the foundation for valuing relationships and for caring for people.

A few weeks ago, I attended a Sunday School class.  At its end, a woman came up to me and said the Lord prompted her to ask me what I wanted her to pray for me.  At first I was surprised, but we exchanged prayer requests.  As I walked away, I thought to myself, “That’s the kind of Sunday School group I want to be a part of, one where people pray for each other for real.”

Fortunately, I am blessed to have a group of friends who intentionally pray for me and likewise I intentionally pray for them. (Unfortunately, not all Christians have this.)  Up until recently, I primarily kept a mental prayer list.  Over the years, I have noticed that a number of my friends actually write theirs down.  Without them knowing it, they had planted a seed which for me has only recently began to sprout.  There is power in the written Word.

Child Praying

Sometimes I hear the boomerang sounds of my words coming back at me.  This happened recently when a friend said to me, “When I say that I will pray for you that is what I mean.  I will add you to my prayer list and pray for you.”  I understood the seriousness of her tone and words.  I am blessed to have friends like that.  I have come to realize a reflection of myself seen in them.  They are workers.  Understanding this has given me a greater understanding of the importance of our mutual prayers and of the seriousness of our prayer lists.

When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd.  Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few.  Ask the Lord for the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”  —Matthew 9:36-38

We have work do.  There are times when our assignments will be hard or we may find ourselves like Jonah—backpedaling.  Still, we have work to do.  Help is asking for others and others are asking for help.  Christians, however, let not our prayer lists stop with the “Sick and Shut-In”.  Pray too for the workers.  They may or may not be standing before us on Sunday mornings.

Once I saw a Christian lady on television with tears in her eyes ask, “Who’s praying for me?”  Thank God I have workers praying for me.  (Participants understand things that spectators simply do not.)  Whose prayer list have you made for working in the Lord’s harvest field?  Who’s praying for you to complete your divine-assignments?  You better believe, there are those orchestrating so you won’t.

Jesus Fix It

“Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life?
….O you of little faith? So do not worry saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”
—Matthew 6:25-34

It took decades, but I finally understand the above-cited scriptures. For me, it boils down to three words, “Fix it Jesus”. Recently, I was faced with two major stressors. In both situations, I noticed that my response was to say aloud, “Fix it Jesus.” I did so believing that I would be alright no matter how things turned out. In times past, I would have prayed and requested—no, nicely instructed—God to handle the situations a particular way. How arrogant of me right?

Woman Praying

Because I am growing more cognizant of identifying God’s operation in my life, I worry significantly less. I have watched God provide for me in miraculous ways. Doors have opened for me because God said so…parking spaces too. (I notice and say, “Thank You”, for things both seemingly big and small.) In addition, I am learning to better discern how to handle being a supporting role in another person’s life without allowing their worries to become my stress.

God wants His best for my life. He wants His best for your life too. He sees the BIG picture. By remembering the blessings He has provided to me in times past, I am reassured that He will do it again. I expect Him to do it again. He cares for His children.

By the way, those two stressors that met me were resolved once I did the things that were pressed upon my spirit to do. One circumstance required me to speak about my inability honestly. The other required me to highlight my ability honestly. There was a time when I would have been uncomfortable doing both. Living in Truth, however, has resulted in me confidently stating what it is and that is that. Always in awe, God has blessed me in both incidences. You see, Jesus fixed it.

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