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Christian and Socially-Conscious…One Woman's Expression

Archive for the tag “spiritual”

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.

 

 

Light Within

Have you ever gone through a really tough time and only a few loved ones plus God knew it?  I am talking about a time that is so tough that you knew that within your own strength you were defeated, but God!  I am talking about a time so tough that your peace confused the enemy!  I am talking about a time so tough that you truly learned to remove your self from the equation and watch God bring resolve!

By being taken aback, you observed how He provided all your needs the day before; You rested assured that your needs were being met in your current state, and via that awareness your were convinced that He had tomorrow covered!

Have you ever been through the kind-of “tough time” that through your tribulations you were still a constant blessing to others, as a result of God’s constant blessings toward you?  Have you been here—in this place where you grew in understanding God’s love—through His grace, His mercy, His kindness, His voice?  During your struggles, you understood that you were not alone; you were not forgotten.  You knew, God was bringing you through.  He had your complete attention.  You began to thank Him for the big and small things.  You found yourself thanking Him for everything!  In hindsight, what did you learn?  This is my reflection.

“No one lights a lamp and hides it in a jar or puts it under a bed.  Instead, he puts it on a stand, so that those who come in can see the light. —Luke 8:16

Woman Standing On Rock

A picture comes to mind:  Light in darkness.  Do you possess Light within?  I do.  I know it.  Finally, I know it  (Praise Him!)

Possessing Light is power.  This power has responsibility.  Once I understood this, my perspective enlarged.  Yes, I beamed brighter. …….I beam brighter!

Seek opportunities to shine as God would have you to do.  Your Brothers and Sisters in Christ want to see you radiate His Light, just as you celebrate seeing His Light in them.  We are One.  And note, unbelievers will pay attention to your “rays” too.  Do not be surprised.  Be aligned with God!

When I truly embraced my spiritual gifts and talents, combined with when I surrendered to grow in God’s truth, I understood that I have a duty to shine with purpose.  My light—His Light—helps others.  This Light within is bigger than my body in which it lives.  It is bigger than me.  Can you relate?

Dismiss those thoughts which keep you “small”.  Change your life experience.  You were created to be great!  BE GREAT!  Our God is a BIG GOD who specializes in doing BIG THINGS!  Do not be surprised.  BE EXPECTANT!

If you know that within you lives His Light, then you better let it SHINE BRIGHTLY!  Do not let low self-esteem or peer pressure restrict your radiance.  The Light within you is BIGGER than YOU!  It is within you for a purpose.  LIVE PURPOSEFUL!  His Light will touch lives you will know and may never know.  God knows, however.  He always does.

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.

An Open Letter

What you do not know is that I have gotten hateful emails because I write a blog that expresses how my biblical studies apply to my life.  I would get them weekly, but I kept writing.  When I wrote my first blog, I wrote solely for my growth.  I shared those writings with specific people and encouraged them to share them if they were led.  (I still encourage sharing my blog entries.)  At that time, I did not know much about blogging.  Actually, I am still learning.  Still, I was moved to write in this arena and I adhered to that supernatural instruction.

3.26.15 Instant hand on neck - Copy

My original blog was not via this vehicle.  Initially, I wrote as a way to discover balance, find peace, and shore up my foundational beliefs.  Then, every blog entry was biblically referenced.  I was not attending a church regularly, but I had not forgotten from where my answers come.  Where I was at that time, I knew the importance of me being still and hearing from God.  I had learned how He speaks to me.  He was speaking.  My attention was undivided.  I was listening.

After few months of blogging, it became apparent to me that people could relate to my experiences.  It took a longer time for me to upgrade my blog experience because, well frankly I was intimidated by “Blog Land”.  Eventually, I did and that is when it started.  Although I would receive hateful messages, they were balanced by the encouragement I received.  From Day 1, I received support.  Some people only show public support when your “name” becomes trendy/safe.  (I have grown to appreciate both public and private support.)  Some will direct hateful energy towards you in public ways, however, before (and after) you become “trendy”.  Note To Self:  People who are whispering are watching.  It is all spiritual.  I understand that too.  Funny what prepares us right?!

This blog is mostly a mixture of faith-based and gender-related expressions.  It is not for everyone.  It is not meant to be.  Everyone who reads and relates to this is not Christian.   Everyone who reads and relates to this is not a woman.  These are not prerequisites.  I am writing about a human experience.  Can you relate to that?

In my real life, I love and appreciate diverse friendships and experiences because I understand the value of the operation of having healthy parts for the Whole.  Diversity assists in bringing out the best in me.  Listen, I am trying to be the best me that I can be.  That, for me, means deepening my personal relationship with God and going forth in that which I believe is my purpose.  I am growing.  This is a progression.  I understand that.

I believe that there is a community of people who are committed to being their best self as well.  Many times in pursuing our greatness, we experience things that we do not talk about—things like receiving hateful emails and dealing with people talking negatively about us.  Many times, these things stunts a person’s growth.  Do not let it halt yours.

I am glad I continued blogging.  Not only have I received blessings, but I have been able to be a blessing.  I am working  on more to come.  It is exciting.

I hope that if you are being called, nudged, movedinclined to do something that encourages your growth, that you DO IT.  Do not let fear stop you.  Likewise, do not let hateful messages—in any form—hinder you.  WANT IT MORE!  It is on your mind for a reason.  Appreciate encouragement if you receive it, but your progress should never rely on it.   People will not always understand your ways nor your actions.  It is ok.  Your faith walk does not require them to do so.

When I first sat down and blogged, I had no idea it would lead to what I now have in mind.  I believe doors of opportunity will be opened and a good work will be done.  Have you ever started something by faith and its vision grew into something far bigger than you could have ever imagined?  Share your story, if not with me then with someone.  The world needs to hear/see more positive stories.

Be Well,

Sacrificial Giving

Have you ever given out of poverty?  I have.

Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasury than all the others.  They all gave out of their wealth; but she, out of her poverty, put in everything—all she had to live on.” (Mark 12:43-44)

girl giving money

Will you allow me to be honest without judgment?  (I hope so.)  In truth, I prefer to give out of wealth.  I continuously pray that God’s allowance for me includes me giving out of wealth.  I believe His manifestations for my life consist of me being wealthy, healthy, and wise.  There was a time, however, when I was not as bold about the wealthy part.  I have evolved.

In hindsight, I am able to appreciate the experience of giving out of poverty.  I am not only talking financially.  I am reflecting on times of being exhausted time-wise, talent-wise, mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  I was so fatigued, so poor, yet I gave until I could not give anymore.  Well, actually I had a little more to give, but it was miniscule.  Right there, nevertheless, in that place of having a feeling like I had no more to give was where I turned my attention to the Lord and gave to Him out of my poverty.  Have you ever been at that place?  If so, then you know this place can be hard, especially at first.  Yet, there I was with my Bible, my listening ears, and hope.  (Thank God for hope!) 

As I deepened my relationship with God, the act of dropping money in a church’s collection plate and feeling satisfied had taken a deeper meaning.  My acts of giving, in any way, had become sacrificial.  At first, I was weary.  I was agitated.  Later I understood, I was being cleansed.  I was being prepared to give out of wealth in accordance to God’s vision for my life.  (What a lesson!)

You know, one of the things that I enjoy is learning of people’s success stories, particularly the parts of how they have overcome obstacles.  Their seasons of poverty are inspirational.  Share your triumphs.  Remind someone of THIS:  Sacrificial giving today births faith-founded manifestations tomorrow.  God’s eyes are supernatural, as are His scales.

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”.

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

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.

The Lord Loves

“I have loved you,” says the Lord…. —Malachi 1:2

When I read this, I was overcome with a feeling of warmth. I literally felt a physical reaction. “I have loved you,” says the Lord. I could have stopped reading right there. Can you imagine it? Do you know—really know—what that means? This truth enriches my soul. It refreshes me.

Face

Frequently stated and often misused, “love” is not contained by words. It can manifest in ways that will leave you speechless. It instigates reciprocity. Can you recognize it? Can you receive it? Will you allow yourself to be a manifestation of it?

“I have loved you”, says the Lord. Love Him back. His love will bring warmth to your soul.

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