Bearing One Another’s Burdens

A good friend of mine made a very touching public statement about how we (Christ Followers) should bear one another’s burdens as the law of Christ demands. My friend was talking about our caring for one another is relates to physical, spiritual and emotional needs. He was saying that we should care enough about one another to know about a need, meet the need if possible, and walk with one another through to the solution (whether or not the need was met by us personally). In other words – taking another’s need as our own.

When read in context, the Galatians text is probably talking about us bearing with one another as we deal with the enticements and battles that we will face as Christians living in a fallen world. While the scriptural context my friend used was not perfect, the sentiment was right on target!

In James 2 we are asked this question, “If a brother or sister is without clothing and in need of daily food, and one of you says to them, Go in peace, be warmed and be filled, and yet you do not give them what is necessary for their body, what use is that? “

John 15:13 asserts, “Greater love has no one than this, that one lay down his life for his friends.”

In Romans 12 we are admonished, “be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality”

In Philippians 2:4 are found these words, “do not merely look out for your own personal interests, but also for the interests of others.”

As I reflect on these scriptures, being the cynic that I am, I found myself thinking – do we really bear one another’s burdens? And I said NO – not unless it is a burden that:

  • We feel is worth bearing/something we deem as worthy to be called a burden
  • Will not cost us anything financially
  • Will not cause us to have to inconvenience our time/schedule

I know – I know – those of you who read this and know me well will say, “Jan, that’s just how you think!” – that may be true about my heart and the way I see things. However, I want you to think about your life just over the last year.

  • How many times did you make yourself available to a friend contemplating suicide? (I mean, did you even give them enough attention to know that they were contemplating suicide? Did you get them help beyond their insurance/finances and take the hit?);
  • How many times did you give money that you earmarked for something else in order to ease another’s burden? (Not just money from your savings, retirement, etc. – I mean sacrificially giving that ‘last 2 dollars’ so that someone could eat, sleep, be seen at the doctor, etc.);
  • How many times did you commit to talk with some weekly about a problem/issue until it was resolved? (And did you keep the commitment?)
    Maybe an easier question is:
  • How many times did a person who calls you friend share a need, a serious need, with you and you chose to ignore it or better yet you chose to tell them ‘be warm and be filled’ without doing a thing tangible to help them or to make it better.

It’s not that we can’t do it – but will we do it? Will we allow our hearts to feel another’s pain and share in another’s joy in a real way? Or will we continue to say to one another be warm and be filled?

Love requires that we care!

Next time you tell a friend – “Take a load off!” – mean it!!

Encouraged … believing the healing is coming

When dealing with this kind of healing – a situation where my salvation in Christ and my strong dependence upon the Father and my strong listening to the Holy Spirit is real – there is just no way for me to be in fear.

My rules from the doctor in these first two weeks is quite real – I have to study regular language; I have to practice the names of my family; I have to rehearse and reintroduce the names of my friends, neighbors, and others that are in my regular community.

I’m enjoying hearing from people that love me deeply and who just want to be close and understand the journey! I haven’t been able to see everyone physically, but it has been amazing joy knowing that they’ve come by or called.

I’m enjoying the beauty of waking up each day desiring my Father; my Savior; and the Spirit that works in me in amazing ways!!!

It’s only week one – but I’ll be great! I know the survived Jan be used in amazing ways by the God who called me!

Keep praying!

Christ I have nothing but encouragement from being united with You, my Savior I have no doubt at all that Your love is comforting me. I have no doubt, that my Father is ensuring my connection with the Holy Spirit. Father God, Jesus, and Holy Spirit I have no doubt that depending upon you means that I will be like-minded with you, that I will be having the same love that you have placed in my heart and that I will be one in spirit and one in purpose for the sake of my belief in You!! (Philippians 2: 1–2)

Have Mercy!!

HaveMercy

I have several very good friends whose lives are all about showing mercy. Three of them, in particular, stand out for me. One serves in the area of Anti-Human Trafficking Initiatives and the other two ensure that malformed babies receive loving care.  These dear friends of mine serve the least of them: the forgotten, the weakest, the lonely and the ones we don’t see. They do good work and I am proud to know them and have some small part in what they do.

It occurred to me that often we leave care for the needy to the big organizations. We feel like what we have to give is not enough to make a difference. We feel like we cannot make a dent in the problem. We feel like we are ill-equipped for the task.

Our God cares about the marginalized — it is the reason He sent His son to Calvary; for us – the marginalized!

Do you know what desperate state we were in before Calvary? We were lost, homeless, alone, destined to fail, empty, wicked, orphaned, imprisoned; and then Calvary found us and cleaned us up; gave us a new home; ensured that we would never be alone; gave to us a hopeful future; filled us with the Holy Spirit; forgave and cleansed us; made us children of God and joint heirs with Christ and set us free! Hallelujah! Don’t you miss your shout cue!! 

Continue reading “Have Mercy!!”

The Least Of Them

What if we really saw THEMCaring? What if we chose not to look past THEM? What if did not criticizeTHEM in order to make our disregard of their presence okay? What if we trusted God with THEIR motives? What if we didn’t sidestepTHEM on the sidewalks? What if we didn’t ignore THEIR phone calls? What if we didn’t pass on the opportunity to touch THEIR lives? What if we chose to empathize? What if we carried their burden with THEM?

Who are they? They are the ignored, the marginalized, the forgotten, the hurting, the needy, the lost, the sick.  They are the ones that need something from us that they can never pay back. As children of The Most High, we have been given the ministry of reconciliation; leading the lost back to a right relationship with our King. But how can they hear the message of the cross, when they have not seen a good picture of His love for them in the people that say they serve Him?

When my sons were small boys they had such compassionate hearts. When Joe was 8 years old, he cried when we drove through a skid row type area in Dallas; he wanted us to bring the homeless home with us. When Jeremy was around that same age, he saw a family’s house burned to the ground on the news and felt that we should clean out our whole house and give it to them. We nurtured their compassion and we were careful to teach them that this compassion was a necessary part of the gospel message. It is not by happenstance that they both care deeply for the souls of people AND for the lives of people.

Here’s the deal:  everything that we have and everything that we are can only be credited to The One who made us;The One who provides for us; The One who has gifted us. So … to complete the message of the gospel it is necessary that we not only live holy before men, but that we live before them in a way that says that we love them. We are not autonomous beings, though we live like it most of the time. It is not okay for us to hand out tracts to people and then treat them like they should fend for themselves. It is our duty, and it should be our joy as a part of the gospel message that we see them — really see them. They might need money; food; clothing OR they might need love, a hug, an encouraging word; prayer — but whatever the need is we should be standing ready to give or to be a connector as we preach the salvation message of the cross.

Don’t worry because He won’t call you to do anything at all without ensuring that you have the filling of the Holy Spirit to get it done!

The Body of Christ is powerful! We have within us the power to change the world; to bring life, hope and peace into the world. We should live our lives fully for Him as a blessing to the world; as messengers of both hope and salvation, so that when the end comes we will have exhausted the resources He placed in us to be a blessing in this world. Blessed to Be a Blessing!

What if I was ‘they’? What if you were ‘they’? What if HE were ‘they’?

The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’ (‭Matthew‬ ‭25‬:‭40‬)